Donald Byrd Live at Montreux July 5, 1973

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Blue Note President Don Was has a special treat. We’ll let him explain:

As a special tribute to this Jazz Immortal and as a gift to the legions of aficionados who, like all of us at Blue Note Records, treasure the music he’s left behind, we are honored to present—for the first time—Donald Byrd, Live at Montreux from July 5, 1973.

As teenagers in Detroit during the 1960s, my friends and I regarded Donald Byrd with the same lofty respect reserved for other hometown musical heroes like Smokey Robinsonthe MC5, Elvin Jones, Mitch Ryder, Aretha Franklin, and John Lee Hooker….they were all amazing artists who were changing the face of music by exporting the sounds of our city to the rest of the world. The music of Donald Byrd was ubiquitous back then…cats like the legendary Motor City jazz disc jockey, Ed Love, would hit tracks like “Nai Nai” from “Free Form” and “Christo Redentor” from A New Perspective on a nightly basis…Later on, in the 1970s, Mr. Byrd started adding a healthy dose of Detroit-style funk to his records and his innovative music could be heard blasting out of dashboard mounted eight-track players and back seat subwoofers all over town… He was a Motor City Trumpet Revolutionary and his timeless music will never be forgotten.

Shortly after Mr. Byrd’s passing on February 4th, we got an email from the noted British music icon, Gilles Peterson, inquiring about a legendary performance from 1973’s Montreux Jazz Festival. Blue Note’s Curator-in-Chief, Michael Cuscuna, told us that it had, indeed, been recorded and subsequently mixed for release by Bob Belden in 1999. Inexplicably, it has remained hidden in the Blue Note vaults—until now. The tapes are wonderful and reveal a far more raw and gritty side to Donald Byrd’s ’70s music than his studio recordings might suggest….

Don Was

President, Blue Note Records

Stream the entire recording here.

 

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