Monday, June 13, 2011
Donald Byrd- Royal Flush
This 1961 Blue Note release finds Donald Byrd performing as a bandleader at the height of his powers. These were also the de rigueur days of bebop jazz , before the evolution of free jazz and fusion. His trumpet playing is more measured than Miles Davis, but it's hard to compare Byrd with a man who was consistently performing at such spectacular levels. Before going solo, so to speak, Byrd worked the jazz circuit as a featured player for Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk so his pedigree was clearly established. Byrd moved on to R&B in the 70s and produced a lucrative catalog of recordings for Blue Note while also receiving not one, but two masters degrees from Columbia University.
"Shangri-La", with its military-style drum beats and dueling trumpet/sax solos is a definite highlight. "Requiem" provides a rousing and fitting end to the set. This era of jazz goes down so damn easy that I just may break out a Cohiba cigar and my foot massager.
Buy this record for that country drive you plan on taking when the weather's nice and you don't care where the kids will be.