Donald Byrd: At The Half Note Cafe, Vol. 1 (Blue Note Tone Poet Series) LP
Blue Note, 1960
Trumpeter Donald Byrd was just 2 years into his 2 decade long Blue Note recording career when he brought his quintet in to Manhattan’s Half Note Café in November 1960 to record this soulful, swinging, and highly enjoyable live set of hard bop featuring Pepper Adams on baritone saxophone, Duke Pearson on piano, Laymon Jackson on bass, and Lex Humphries on drums. Byrd had already established himself as a leading trumpeter on the scene and was riding high on a creative hot streak that produced the studio albums Off To The Races, Byrd In Hand, Fuego, and Byrd In Flight. After an introduction by WOV disc jockey Ruth Mason (who would later become Ruth Lion, wife of Blue Note founder Alfred Lion), the band hits the ground running on Pearson’s up-tempo “My Girl Shirl” before downshifting into Byrd’s blues “Soulful Kiddy.” Side 2 opens with a beautiful ballad performance of “A Portrait of Jennie” before stretching out on another original blues by Byrd titled “Cecile” and concluding Volume 1 with the band’s theme “Pure D. Funk.”
This stereo Tone Poet Vinyl Edition was produced by Joe Harley, mastered by Kevin Gray (Cohearent Audio) from the original analog master tapes, pressed on 180g vinyl at Record Technology Inc. (RTI), and packaged in a deluxe gatefold tip-on jacket.
A1: My Girl Shirl
A2: Soulful Kiddy
B1: A Portrait Of Jennie
B3: The Theme