Jazz musician Donald Byrd has passed away
After several days of rumors swirling around, the news of legendary jazz musician Donald Byrd's death was confirmed earlier today.
The confirmation came from Byrd’s nephew Alex Bugnon, who released a statement that Byrd had died last Monday, February 4th.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Donald Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II was a celebrated trumpeter, working with the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, and many others.
His past work was also a huge influence on hip-hop, with samples being used by countless artists, including fellow Detroit legend J Dilla.
The 80-year-old Byrd was also a respected teacher, lecturing at well-known universities such as Rutgers, New York University, Howard, and Cornell, among others. He was also known as one of the industry’s smartest musicians, earning three separate master's degrees, a law degree, and a doctorate from Columbia University Teacher’s College.
Bugnon finished his statement with a delightful sendoff to his uncle, saying, “Let's remember Donald as a one of a kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education. In sum, Donald was an avid, eternal student of music, until his death. That's what I try to be, everyday!! Rest in peace, uncle!”
First things first. Happy Birthday J Dilla. Today marks what would have been the late producer's 39th birthday and amid some particularly touching tributes is this video from drummer Karriem Riggins. Part eulogy and part performance, here Riggins plays his own instrumental 'J Dilla The Greatest' as a fitting homage. The track appears on his forthcoming Stones Throw release, Alone Together. [read more]
Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey has announced she'll be donating the late musician's custom-made Minamoog Voyager synthesizer and Akai MIDI Production Center 3000 Limited Edition to the institution. [read more]
Unlike other posthumous releases, J Dilla's always sound as good as his actual releases. [read more]