Reviews Zone

Donald Byrd:Love Has Come Around: The Elektra Records Anthology 1978-1982 (Big Break Records) 3rd March



 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


After a successful period at Blue Note, trumpeter Donald Byrd moved over to the Elektra label in 1978. 

With his ensemble 125TH Street, Byrd dropped a series of memorable jazz, funk and soul cuts such as “Thank You For Funkin Up My Life”, “Loving You”, “Veronica”, “Love Has Come Around”, “I Love Your Love”, “Sexy Dancer” and “Star Trippin’ “.

He had the pick of some of the best musicians around at the time to work on these tracks, such as Wah Wah Watson, Greg Phillinganes, Jim Gilstrap, Don Mizell, Syreeta Wright and Isaac Hayes.

Donald Byrd’s critically acclaimed career and life have assured the Detroit native his rightful place as one of the most respected musicians of the 20th century. Having successfully transitioned to Jazz Fusion in the 1970s under the guidance of the Mizell brothers, creating four albums on Blue Note records including the highly influential “Places and Spaces”, Byrd continued to explore the fertile possibilities of Fusion, with four more albums recorded for Elektra Records between 1978 and 1982.

1978s “Thank You… For F.U.M.L (Funking Up My Life)”, 1979s “Donald Byrd & 125th Street N.Y.C.”, produced by Byrd, and the two Isaac Hayes produced albums “Love Byrd” and “Words, Sounds, Colors and Shapes” from 1981 and 1982. All four timeless albums fully represented on this excellent two-disc anthology.

Tracks produced by Byrd include the up-tempo jazz-funk-disco tracks “Thank You For Funking Up My Life,” “Loving You”, “Have You Heard The News”, “Pretty Baby” and “People Suppose To Be Free”, alongside the deeper jazz-fusion cuts of “Sunning In Your Love Shine”, “Your Love Is My Ecstasy”, “Gold The Moon”, “White The Sun”, and “Loving You”.

The Isaac Hayes produced tracks include, “Love Has Come Around,’ (Byrd’s biggest R&B hit at #15), the dancefloor work outs ‘Sexy Dancer,’ (R&B #38) ‘Star Trippin’’ and ‘I Love Your Love’. The rich Hayes’ influenced ballads ‘I Feel Like Loving You Today’ and ‘Falling’ sit with the deeper jazz-fusion compositions ‘Butterfly,’ ‘I’ll Always Love You,’ ‘So Much In Love,’ ‘Forbidden Love’ and ‘Everyday.’

The 16-page booklet features comprehensive liner notes and rare photos, and this two-disc, 31-track release is a reminder, if one needed it, of just how fabulous Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture “Donald” Byrd II’s music was. He died in February 2013 at 80-years-old.



By Sally Fox


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