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Jazz Trumpeter Donald Byrd, A Funk-Fusion Experimenter, Dies At 80

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Jordan Shepherd

Legendary jazz trumpeter and band leader Donald Byrd, who went on to experiment with jazz-funk-R&B fusions, has died at the age of 80.

Byrd, known for records such as Black Byrd, reportedly died on February 4th in Dover, Delaware.

Byrd was born and raised in Detroit, having grown up amidst the city’s rich blues and gospel culture, and moved to New York in 1955, where he quickly became one of the most sought after trumpeters.

Byrd later innovated the fusion of many different genres together, highlighted on his album Black Byrd, which peaked at No. 88 on the Billboard Top 100.

Byrd’s legacy extends into hip-hop, where acts Public Enemy and Nas sampled his work.

Jordan Shepherd | Elite.

Jordan Shepherd

Jordan Shepherd

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