The Troy Street Observer

May 7, 1956: Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill

Tom Wilson produced three LPs for trumpeter Donald Byrd on Transition Records: Byrd-Jazz (TRLP-5, recorded in Detroit in August 1955), Byrd’s Eye View (TRLP-4, recorded in Cambridge in December 1955), and  Byrd Blows On Beacon Hill (TRLP-17, recorded in Boston on May 7, 1956).

LP Cover of Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill
Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill, TRLP-17

Byrd Blows On Beacon Hill was a quartet date, with bassist Doug Watkins, pianist Ray Santisi, and drummer Jimmy Zitano. Watkins, like Byrd, was a product of the rich Detroit postwar jazz scene, and like Byrd, moved to New York in 1954. Watkins was the original bass player in the Jazz Messengers, and Byrd joined that group when he replaced the original trumpeter, Kenny Dorham.

Santisi and Zitano, of course, were part of the Jazz Workshop crew at the Stable, which is where Byrd first heard them. They had recorded for Wilson on Transition’s first release, Jazz in a Stable.
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