- Released: March 9, 2004
- Originally Released: 2004
- Label: EMI Mod Afw
- 2.Night Flower
- 3.Nai Nai
- 4.French Spice
- 5.Free Form
- 6.Three Wishes
Personnel: Donald Byrd (trumpet); Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone); Herbie Hancock (piano); Butch Warren (bass); Billy Higgins (drums).
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on December 11, 1961.
Personnel: Donald Byrd (trumpet); Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone); Herbie Hancock (piano); Billy Higgins (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Rudy Van Gelder.
Liner Note Authors: Nat Hentoff; Bob Blumenthal.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (12/11/1961).
Photographer: Francis Wolff.
Donald Byrd's 1961 recording Free Form is both a smorgasboard of modern jazz styles and a breakthrough album showing the Detroit-born trumpeter's versatility. Where his brass tone is very lean and toned, he does not resort to outlandish outbursts into the ionosphere, but shows a refined yet daring approach removed from his predecessors or peers, including Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan. With tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, a very young pianist Herbie Hancock, drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Butch Warren, Byrd tackles different flavors of jazz with a voracious appetite.
"Pentecostal Feelin'" comes straight from the Horace Silver bag, original funk with Shorter, Hancock, and Higgins head-noddin' to the band. By contrast, "Nai Nai" is all straight-ahead hard bop. The more modal "French Spice" is still in the hard-to-post bop mold, but has a two-note base until the horns burst out in a rich melody. The title track represents the so-called "New Thing," a tone row-based spontaneous improvisation where the band is purposefully set apart from the inventive drumming of Higgins. Romance is also on the menu via the no-frills ballad "Night Flower" as Byrd serenely leads the band into a curtain closing venture into tenderness. FREE FORM may be close to Donald Byrd's best early work.