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UPC - 660652903021
Donald Byrd - Groovin For Nat

Release Date - Apr, 2001
$14.98

Hush! - 7.33
Child'S Play - 6.43
Angel Eyes - 2.38
Smoothie - 5.52
Sudel - 7.09
Friday'S Child - 6.29
Out Of This World - 7
Groovin' For Nat - 3.4
Hush! - 6
Child'S Play - 5.35
Sudel - 6.07

Donald Byrd was twenty-two years of age when he left Detroit for New York in 1955. He quickly established himself as a reliable and talented soloist with the result that he moved into the select circle of musicians then working in the better-known New York Jazz clubs. In September and October 1955, he worked with pianist George Wallington at the Bohemia (Jackie McLean and Paul Chambers were also in the band) while in July and August, prior to the Wallington job, Byrd recorded as a sideman with groups led by drummer Kenny Clarke and Oscar Pettiford. Such precociousness is still a rarity in jazz and it is worth examining Byrd's qualifications. Born on December 9, 1932 in Detroit, Donald Byrd is a member of an intensely musical family. His father, the Rev. Thomas Byrd, studied piano while one of his sisters was a choral student at Wayne and Chicago Universities. Another of Byrd's sisters is a pianist while an uncle plays the drums. In such an environment it is hardly surprising that Donald showed an interest in music and at the age of twelve he began to play the trumpet. He was at the high school with two young men who were destined to become known as two of the most important bass players in post-war jazz, Doug Watkins and Paul Chambers. After high school Byrd went to Detroit's Wayne University before spending a couple of years in the air force. After his discharge from the service he studied for a degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York and somehow managed to cram in more tuition with Vachiano of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Alessi of the NBC Symphony. Some of his earliest jazz experiences came as a result of working with Detroit pianist Barry Harris, a famous "backroom" figure in Motor City circles. After his decision to move to New York City in 1955 Byrd was called upon to act as a replacement for trumpeter Kenny Dorham with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. After the tragic car accident of the night of June 26-27, 1956 which resulted in the deaths of Clifford Brown and Richie Powell, Donald took over the trumpet chair in the Max Roach Quintet. Throughout 1957 Byrd co-led a group with alto-saxophonist Gigi Gryce and since 1958 he has fronted groups of his own (containing men such as Pepper Adams, Jackie McLean and Duke Pearson) as well as spending some time in France studying musical theory. Byrd's front-line partner on this recording is trumpeter Johnny Coles. A group comprising two trumpeters and rhythm is unusual in jazz. Buck Clayton made some records in France using the same format (his colleague on trumpet was Bill Coleman) and in 1956 trumpeters Don Stratton and Phil Sunkel recorded some duets but it is by no means a familiar instrumentation. Coles provides a good contrast both musically and personally. When Byrd was attended various schools of music and gaining an academic education, Johnny Coles was serving his apprenticeship with rhythm and blues bands. With Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson at the beginning of the nineteen-fifties Cole's colleagues included John Coltrane and Red Garland while the 1951 Bullmoose Jackson band had, in addition to Coles, such men as Tadd Damerson, Benny Golson, bass player Jymie Merritt and drummer Joe Jones. During the middle-fifties, Coles played for a time with James Moody's band in Chicago (he took over from Dave Burns during 1956) but it was while working with Gil Evan's regular band during 1959 that Coles came to the attention of the critics. His broad tone and tasteful choice of notes marked him as a soloist of great potential, a musical giant despite his small stature. On these recordings the opening trumpet soloist is usually Donald Byrd (although on Hush it is Coles who is heard first). The sound of two trumpets in the ensemble statements gives a bright and brassy feeling to the music and on Child's Play Byrd and Coles succeed in negotiating the contours of a most complicated line. Johnny Coles takes the spotlight in the slow ballad Friday's Child while both trumpeters make way for Duke Pearson on Groovin' for Nat. Pearson who plays with such delicacy, grace and fine graduation of tuch, particularly on the trio rendition of Angel Eyes, hails from Atlanta and came to New York at the beginning of 1959. He has led his own trio as well as working with the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet in 1960. He is represented here as both composer and pianist and in the former capacity was responsible for Jeannine, one of Cannonball Adderley's most popular numbers during the early nineteen-sixties. Bob Cranshaw and Walter Perkins played in Chicago with a group known as the "MJT Plus Three" until 1963 when they, like so many young American jazz musicians, decided to try their luck in New York. - Alun Morgan 1. Hush! (take 2) Byrd 6.07 2. Child's Play (take 3) Byrd 5.36 3. Angel Eyes (take 4) Brent & Dennis 5.58 4. Smoothie (take 4) Stevenson 5.50 5. Sudel (take 2) Pearson 7.08 6. Friday's Child Mitchell 6.26 7. Out of This World Arlen & Mercer 6.40 8. Groovin' for Nat Wilkins 3.37 9. Hush (take 1) Byrd 7.30 10. Child's Play (take 2) Byrd 6.40 11. Sudel (take 4) Pearson 6.02 Donald Byrd (trumpet) Johnny Coles (trumpet) Duke Pearson (piano) Bob Cranshaw (bass) Walter Perkins (drums) Recorded at Bell Sounds Studios, New York City January 12, 1962 Original recordings by Fred Norsworthy Album produced by Alan Bates Cover photograph by Ray Avery Cover Design by Ric Simenson


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