Detroit Jazz player Donald Byrd, who is known for his influence in the music industry, passed away on Monday February 4th. The news was initially thought to be a rumor, but was confirmed by the trumpeter’s nephew Alex Bugnon via Facebook. Amoeba.com said no details have been released as to the cause of his death.
Donald Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd was born on December 9, 1932. He excelled in jazz and has played alongside many greats including John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock. He was a member of the Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and became a household name in the 1970’s, with his group The Blackbyrds.
Byrd’s influence extended beyond jazz, for years fans have been nodding their heads to his music, even if they did not know him. He was featured on Nas’ “NY State of Mind” and “Get Down”, Public Enemy’s “Fear of the Black Planet” and Ice Cube’s “I Wanna Kill Sam.” He also worked with other artists.
Bryd also taught his craft at numerous universities and colleges throughout his illustrious careers.
(Photo: David Redfern / Redferns / Getty Images)