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Previously Unreleased 1973 Donald Byrd Recording Coming in December

Live: Cookin' with Blue Note at Montreux will be issued to commemorate the trumpeter's 90th birthday

Cover of Donald Byrd album Live: Cookin' with Blue Note at Montreux
Cover of Donald Byrd album Live: Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux

On December 9—which would have been the late trumpeter Donald Byrd’s 90th birthday—Blue Note Records will release Live: Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux, a July 1973 recording of Byrd at the Swiss jazz festival with a 10-piece band.

Byrd’s performance was part of a larger Blue Note Records event that year at the Montreux Jazz Festival organized by the label’s then-president Dr. George Butler. The band he led included second trumpeter Fonce Mizell, tenor saxophonist and flutist Allan Barnes, saxophonist Nathan Davis, keyboardists Kevin Toney and Larry Mizell, guitarist Barney Perry, bassist Henry Franklin, drummer Keith Killgo, and percussionist Ray Armando. Several of these musicians—students of Byrd’s at Howard University—would soon form the successful jazz-funk fusion band the Blackbyrds.

Songs performed by the band that day include Larry Mizell’s “Black Byrd,” which can now be heard via YouTube in advance of the full album release, along with three otherwise unrecorded Byrd originals—“The East,” “Kwame,” and “Poco-Mania”—and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “You’ve Got It Bad Girl.”

The set will be available on blue vinyl, black vinyl, CD, and digital download. Visit the Blue Note Store for more information or to preorder Cookin’ with Blue Note at Montreux.

JazzTimes 10: Essential Donald Byrd Recordings