Donna Byrne

Genres: Jazz
Decades: 1980s 1990s 2000s


Massachusetts, USA. Byrne was encouraged in her ambition to be a singer by her father and performed as a child from the age of two. Early influences she has cited are Ella Fitzgerald and, perhaps most formatively, Irene Kral. She made her professional debut in the Cape Cod area in the mid-70s and attracted the attention there of pianist Dave McKenna who encouraged her ambitions. Byrne has attributed her astute sense of jazz phrasing from listening to instrumentalists rather than other singers. In particular, she has noted McKenna, and trumpet players Herb Pomeroy and Ruby Braff, the latter returning her compliments, stating that Byrne’s was an ‘artistry that will always appear fresh’. Compliments have also flowed from Tony Bennett who, in addition to introducing her performances, has commented: ‘She’s the Real McCoy’. Regularly accompanied by her husband, bass player Marshall Wood, Byrne’s dedication to family life and raising...

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by Donna Byrne