Rumors of his death had been circulating since earlier in the week, but until Thursday, there was no confirmation.
According to Byrd’s nephew, Alex Bugnon, his uncle did indeed pass away on Monday. And according to the Amoeba record store blog, Bugnon added that for some reason other family members were trying to shroud his passing in secrecy.
“I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family.”
As of this posting the cause of death has not been made public and there’s been no confirmation of Bryd’s passing other than Bugnon’s
Here’s more on Donald Byrd from the Amoeba blog:
Byrd’s career began when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, as replacement for Clifford Brown, in the 1950’s and while his roots were bebop in later decades he later became equally known for his forays off into jazz fusion. In the early seventies he formed the fusion group The Blackbyrds who became know for such hits as “Walking In Rhythm” and “Happy Music.” What sets Byrd’s body of work apart from others is how he transcended one particular genre or decade – but instead remained relevant and pioneering throughout his career as his sound effortlessly shape-shifted.
For more on Donald Byrd, who was also an educator, read the full entry at Amoeba.
Check some of Donald Byrd’s classic music: