Donald Byrd - Ethiopian Knights (Blue Note 80)
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Over two days in August 1971, Donald Byrd brought a powerful band into A&M Studios in Los Angeles to record the jazz-funk exploration Ethiopian Knights, continuing his evolution from top-flight hard bop trumpeter to pioneer of R&B/funk fusion.
Consisting of just three tracks: the extended funk workouts "The Emperor" and "The Little Rasti" with the cleanser "Jamie" in between - the album preceded his Mizell Bros produced fusion masterpiece Black Byrd. It features stand-out contributions from tenor saxophonist Harold Land and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, along with keyboardists Joe Sample and Bill Henderson III, guitarists Don Peake, Greg Poree, and David T. Walker, bassist Wilton Felder, drummer Ed Greene, and percussionist Bobbye Porter Hall.
This 'Blue Note 80' edition is all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on heavyweight vinyl at Optimal in Germany. Released by Blue Note Records in 2019.
A1: The Emperor
B1: The Little Rasti