While his protégés, the Blackbyrds, had more commercial success with the Top 20 R&B/pop singles "Walking in Rhythm" and "Happy Music" on Fantasy Records, Donald Byrd recorded some interesting sides (many featuring the Blackbyrds) on Blue Note, highlighted by the Top 20 R&B hit "Black Byrd." The trumpeter wasn't a singles artist; he was an album artist whose Black Byrd, Street Lady, Stepping Into Tomorrow, and Places and Spaces were big-selling LPs. Many of Byrd's better-known tracks were produced by songwriting duo Larry and Fonce Mizell, whose credits include LTD and A Taste of Honey. On Donald Byrd's Best, you'll find the aforementioned "Black Byrd," "Flight Time" (whose intro conjures up images of floating satellites), and "Steppin' Into Tomorrow," all of which received massive radio play. You also find his festive, super-charged R&B-charting single "Change (Makes You Wanna Hustle)." Other highlights include "Sky High" and "Lansanas Priestess."
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AllMusic Review by Ed Hogan