Influential jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd died of undisclosed causes on Monday. He was 80 years-old. Via Pitchfork:
According to Amoeba, the news was passed along by Byrd’s nephew, Alex Bugnon, who said: “I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family.”
Byrd launched his career with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the 1950s, and he performed alongside giants including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy, and Herbie Hancock. He was an artist crucial to the roster of the legendary jazz label Blue Note Records, recording on a number of big-ticket albums, including the best-selling Black Byrd. In the 1970s, Byrd worked with a fusion group called the Blackbyrds, releasing hits like “Happy Music” and “Walking in Rhythm”.
Byrd was also an influence in the hip-hop community, with his music being sampled by artists ranging from Public Enemy to Nas to J. Dilla.