Donald Byrd, one of the leading jazz trumpeters of the 1950s and early 1960s, who became both successful and controversial in the 1970s by blending jazz, funk and rhythm and blues into a pop hybrid that defied categorization, died on Feb. 4 in Dover, Del. He was 80.
Mr. Byrd emerged from the jazz caldron of Detroit in the mid-1950s and quickly became one of the primary instrumental voices of the hard-bop movement, a swinging blues-based style of jazz built around driving rhythms and tight ensemble work.
With a distinctive tone that balanced crisp intonation with a clean melodic line, he was in constant demand for record dates, including sessions with John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Jackie McLean and Max Roach. He appeared on 36 recordings in 1957 alone.
When Mr. Byrd’s debut album appeared in 1955, jazz writer Nat Hentoff praised him in DownBeat magazine as “one of the most important jazz trumpet talents in the past few years.”
Read more here: Donald Byrd, jazz trumpeter, dies at 80 – The Washington Post