By the time of this fourth Blue Note album by trumpeter Donald Byrd, it became clear that his playing was becoming stronger with the passing of time. Byrd in Flight features separate studio sessions from January and July of 1960 with constants Duke Pearson on piano and drummer Lex Humphries. Bassists Doug Watkins and Reggie Workman split duties six tracks to three, as do tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, making for some interesting sonic combinations, although Byrd is the dominant voice…
Centered around the Byrd/Adams Blue Note dates Byrd in Hand, Chant, Royal Flush, The Cat Walk, and Off to the Races, Mosaic's Complete Blue Note Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Studio Sessions finds the Detroit natives at the top of their game during 1959-1962. Writing and performing some of the most original and tight hard bop around, Byrd and Adams led a variety of combos that featured the likes of Herbie Hancock (his first session), Wynton Kelly, Duke Pearson (who also contributed material), Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. From distinct covers ("Lover Come Back to Me") to seamlessly complex originals ("Bronze Dance"), Byrd's pure-toned trumpet and Adams' angular baritone unexpectedly make a perfect match. And beyond a wealth of sides that prove the point, the collection also features – in typically thorough and classy Mosaic fashion – some stunning session photos by Blue Note lensman Francis Wolff and an extensive essay by Bob Blumenthal. A hard bop experience of the highest order.
For this excellent album, trumpeter Donald Byrd teams up with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, baritonist Pepper Adams, pianist Walter Davis, Jr., bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor. Together the sextet performs three Byrd originals, two Davis songs and the standard "Witchcraft." Although none of the new tunes caught on, the group (which includes two distinctive saxophonists and the rapidly maturing trumpet of Donald Byrd) plays consistently creative and spirited solos in the hard bop idiom.
One of the great jam session recordings of the 1950s, All Night Long was under the relaxed direction of Kenny Burrell. The guitarist gathered together some of the finest young players on the New York scene, including Donald Byrd on trumpet and tenor saxophonists Hank Mobley and Jerome Richardson, one of the unsung heroes of the flute in jazz. Mal Waldron, Doug Watkins and Arthur Taylor were the rhythm section. The musical formats were uncomplicated; "All Night Long" a blues with a bridge, Waldron's "Flickers" a 16-bar pattern, Mobley's two originals based on familiar 32-bar chord sequences. From these simple, classic bases were launched performances with the hallmarks that have long identified any Burrell project: Relaxation, swing and high standards of musicianship.