Donald Byrd blew some of the coolest blasts of Jazz-fusion (one of the few terms that works) through seminal releases such as Change (Makes You Want To Hustle) and Places & Spaces by the mid-seventies. And went onto to score even higher with the classic (the most over-used word since Beethoven) Love Has Come Around in the later seventies – the way the Piano and Trumpet sends tingles and shivers does it like little else. Following hot on the heels is the almost equally wondrous, in my opinion, Loving You which you may well be acquainted with care of others sampling the bitter/ sweet refrain. As the selection continues so the Funk influences dominate, of course punctuated by those Horn blasts, but are also contrasted on occassion by Disco flavoured numbers like the R&B referencing Midnight, altering again with the gentler, breezier sounds such as Morning. The second disc opens with the robust Thank You For Funking Up My Life, a life lesson for us all. And again traverses the sounds and sights of his imagination talking about the frailty and beauty of our human condition amongst the consequent world of possibilities. Cristo Redentor, returns to that poignant, heart-tearing infusion from the earlier timeline on this compilation (most tellingly from 1978) and I guess you take from the music what you require. But, whether that’s yearning melodies, hard-funky instrumentation or moodier, midnight Jazz then one and all are apparent here.
P.S a big thankyou to Malcolm McKenzie for informative sleevenotes.