Donald Byrd, Teaneck Jazz Pioneer, Dies at 80

Longtime township resident was advocate for music education

Teaneck resident Donald Byrd, an innovative jazz trumpeter who worked with scores of artists, died Feb. 4 in Delaware, the Associated Press reported Monday. 

Byrd, a Detroit-native, was a longtime township resident, the report said. 

"A sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, Byrd was best known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a jazz artist," an obituary posted on the Haley Funeral Directors website said. 

He played with Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Max Roach, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock, according to the obituary.

Byrd earned a law degree and a doctorate, and was an advocate for music education, according to a New York Times report. He was named a William Paterson University distinguished scholar and artist-in-residence at Delaware State University. 

He developed a curriculum to merge math and music education, the AP reported.   


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