According to his website, Byrd was born in 1965 the youngest in a family of sixteen. He grew up in a musically fecund world. His experiences with performing began with singing in the church choir with his older siblings and lead to rich performing adventures in during his teen years, exposing him also to the vast treasures past and present of musical ideas. By the time he’d been awarded a full scholarship for Classical Vocal Studies at Hartt College of Music, he’d decided he wanted to be a Jazz artist. Through the listening, absorbing, practicing, and synthesizing of legacies of not only Jazz, but also Classical, Folk, and Popular music past and present, he formulated his approach to improvisation and composition.
In the last, twenty years, he has lended his musicianship to many groups and performers in Jazz, R&B, World, Latin, Pop, etc., as well as Dance and Theatre. A short list of performers would include Archie Shepp, Eddie Henderson, Frank Lacy, Saskia Laroo, Steve Davis, David Chevan, Mixashawn, Kenny Hamber, Alvin Carter, Nita Zarif, and many more. In 2000, he released Truth Raised Twice, his only album as a leader with many of his own compositions as well as standards from the Jazz repetorie.
Byrd starts off his solo piano performance with two Duke Ellington standards, Caravan and Sophisticated Lady before reading Langston Hughes' The Negro Speaks Of Rivers. The poet was born on this day in 1902:
|I've known rivers:|
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
I've known rivers:My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
Upcoming concerts (held Sundays from 3-4pm at the Hartford Public Library Atrium:
also written several one-act musicals, and has created music and produced audio for a wide variety of multimedia projects.