05/12/2018: “Places & Spaces” by Donald Byrd

Donald Byrd (full name Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II) is one of those artists that, without their work, much of the music today we listen to would be different.

He’s notable for nurturing Herbie Hancock’s talent for one thing, and that man’s innovations alone are staggering. He also helped the Blackbyrds to form, and had taught many of their members.

But Donald Byrd’s musicianship both as a solo artist and as a backing performer with other jazz acts carved new niches around the jazz, funk and soul worlds.

“Places & Spaces” sits more towards the funky end of the spectrum, with alternating sections of airy Jazz and then some rock solid funk. The funky bits have some more lyrical vocals, whereas the jazzy bits are built around splashy hi-hats, choral vocals, and more of Byrd’s trumpet virtuosity.

It’s one of the more convincing Jazz fusion attempts in my opinion; rather than seeming like a Jazz musician trying to make more popular music, Donald Byrd creates Jazz music that is easily more popular.

The song is from the eponymous 1975 album on the famous Blue Note label.


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