LANDMARKS is a compilation of tracks taken from GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS, HARLEM BLUES & A CITY CALLED HEAVEN.
Personnel: Donald Byrd (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn); Kenny Garret (alto saxophone); Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone); Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone); Mulgrew Miller, Donald Brown (piano); Peter Washington, Rufus Reid (bass); Carl Allen, Al Foster, Marvin "Smitty" Smith (drums).
Producers: Orrin Keepnews, Donald Byrd.
Compilation producer: Adam Dorn.
Principally recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on September 22 & 24, 1987 & October 10 & 12, 1989. Includes liner notes by Orrin Keepnews.
Though Donald Byrd first came to fame as Kenny Dorham's successor in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, it was the trumpeter's later forays into electric jazz/funk fusion that made him a star. Consequently it's his more commercial, funky side with which Byrd's most commonly associated. In the late-'80s, producer Orrin Keepnews brought Byrd into the studio to record three (relatively) straight-ahead acoustic jazz albums for Keepnews' Landmark label. Over a decade later, 32 Jazz saw fit to compile the best of those sessions into this handy collection. Byrd is joined here by a host of younger players, whose compositional skills (Kenny Garrett's "Voyage A Deux" is a highlight) prove as valuable as their instrumental abilities.
Byrd's far too forward-looking to ever be a traditionalist, so LANDMARKS feels anything but anachronistic. Note the semi-reggae undercurrent of "Theme for Malcolm," or the snaky, syncopated melody of Byrd's own "The Onliest." Byrd's fluid, economical improvisations are naturally the focus of LANDMARKS, and they are nicely complemented by the contributions of younger guns like Garrett, as well as the sparkling guest appearance of Byrd's contemporary Bobby Hutcherson, on "King Arthur."