Donald Byrd – 1975 – Stepping Into Tomorrow

Donald Byrd released a series of 5 magnificent albums in Blue Note, between 1973 and 1976 (Black Byrd, Street Lady, Stepping Into Tomorrow, Places and Spaces, Caricatures), under the high artistic supervision of Mizzell brothers. “Stepping Into Tomorrow” stands as the flagship right in the middle of this run, let its title alone carve some new path in unexplored at the time of its release territory.

Associatively coming into today, this marks my first post after almost 8 years in FMS, a period of time that almost equals the years  that this blog is in existence  (and more)… Groovy Emmanuel then, let’s drop out Groovy and just keep Emmanuel now… In the meantime, Nikos has been effortively keeping the spirit of this blog alive and well… Countless records on one hand, countless soul deposit on the other… And that is the Soul in Music all about, after all… It’s time now to step into tomorrow…

Tracks
A1 Stepping Into Tomorrow 5:11
A2 Design A Nation 4:19
A3 We’re Together 4:23
A4 Think Twice 6:10
B1 Makin’ It 3:45
B2 Rock And Roll Again 6:09
B3 You Are The World 4:29
B4 I Love The Girl 3:53

Review By Emmanuel

…. Ok now, let us just take a quick glimpse at the inner sleeve photo…. Yeah, it’s Donald Byrd, and is looking good, and is looking dapper, and is smiling, almost prompting us to take a step into tomorrow , …. Ok then, let us all return the smile he just sent.… This is a humble tribute to a legend, a tiny little reference to those who made this happen, and a grand greeting to an era that bore a rich legacy amongst music lovers and producers all over the place , deep in the years to come  and still coming…  At the time of its release “Stepping  Into Tomorrow” met a somehow strong rejection on jazz purists side, partly because of the production techniques used, mostly because of the music itself. First we take the production and then we take the music…. The Mizell brothers, Larry and Fonce, had their own Sky High Productions company. Larry, a former NASA employee on the Apollo space program, was a vivid enthusiast in exploring advanced studio technology such as the use of the then new synthesizer, and Fonce had a production team (The Corporation) responsible for some of the early Jackson Five hits.


They not only made the production, they wrote all the compositions but one, made all the arrangements and they participated as musicians,  which  finally lead us to the music itself… Jazz (the matrix of it all), R&B (call it R’nR), soul, funk, all’n’all, all in one, to the core of the compositions themselves, and further to the sum of it all which stands  as strong as its parts. Donald, a bebop legend himself had no hesitation digging deep into the parts, staying loose and at the very same moment getting  hooked  to the heart of the composition, almost flying in and out of it. And what about the rest of the crew!!! Gary Bartz, Chuck Rainey, Harvey Mason, Mayuto Correa, …., just to name a few….By the time of its release, “Stepping  Into Tomorrow” sounded almost unheardable…  For instance, someone could swear he was hearing a theramin playing in the title track… Theramin in jazz? Pretty much of a blasphemy … Actually, there were female singers going into high notes making it soprano flying!!! Thus talking, what a vocal performance by Kay Haith in “Think Twice” and what an almost minimal, ethereal performance by them all in the whole thing, this is simply the soul in jazz… Last, but not least, the truth of it all, the actual step into tomorrow, the projection of this thing to the days that were about to come, twenty, thirty, forty years  after its release and still counting…  Its legacy,  from the better known reinterpretations by Donald’s fellow Detroit natives Jay Dilla and Carl Craig in “Think Twice”, via Madlib’s  “Stepping  Into Tomorrow” version, to the lesser known remixes of “Stepping  Into Tomorrow” as sampled in “Pressure 98” by Extended Spirit a Jazzanova side project, and so on…….  Call it hip hop, call it electronica, call it nu jazz, call it whatever… This is Soul in Music.

Ok then, let us all return the smile he just sent….

and listen up this awesome gem.

Buy the Album

Download the Album

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24 Comments
  • Cimaron
    Posted at 09:14h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    Got this on vynil Amazing stuff.

  • Adam Hill
    Posted at 09:18h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    Love thIs piece. What a great comeback Emmanuel. Keep’em coming..

  • DareD
    Posted at 10:11h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    One of the best albums your ears will ever hear…

  • Tina Alegro
    Posted at 12:41h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    Mizell Brothers presents : Gary Bartz on tenor sax solos, Harvey Mason on Drums, Kay Haith on Backing vocals and the legentary Donald Byrd on Trumpet, Flugelhorn and solo Vocals. The perfect compination. Thnx u for the upload..

  • Dr.Rem
    Posted at 18:33h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    All these years have passed and it is still fucking hot,hot,hot!!

  • Ricardo
    Posted at 18:41h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    This guy was a genius of music…professor Donald Byrd RIP

  • Gastone
    Posted at 18:58h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    ❤️🎶❤️ Masterpiece 🎶❤️

  • George Diggs
    Posted at 23:04h, 16 May 2017 Reply

    Positive, good and meaningful music puts a smile on my face. Thank you so much for posting.

  • Vince77
    Posted at 08:49h, 17 May 2017 Reply

    A delightful masterwork. FMS rules.

  • Dirk
    Posted at 10:11h, 17 May 2017 Reply

    Awesoooooooome….That´s soooooooooooo great. Thank you very much for your work

  • Ronald
    Posted at 11:22h, 17 May 2017 Reply

    I am 24 and never heard this before. Thank you x one million. I’m digging this so much.

  • Antonio Bell
    Posted at 19:28h, 17 May 2017 Reply

    A classic among classics. Still hear it in live sessions. till this day.

  • Danilo
    Posted at 22:08h, 17 May 2017 Reply

    Excellent, is on my playlist.

  • Joel
    Posted at 09:24h, 18 May 2017 Reply

    Killer. Donald byrd was great. I wish i could see live this amazing company of musicians for once in my lifetime.

  • Dominic
    Posted at 21:25h, 18 May 2017 Reply

    I’m loving this

  • Alvin
    Posted at 10:20h, 19 May 2017 Reply

    Now this as smooth as it get’s with that tough jazz tearing it up.

  • Ronda
    Posted at 13:10h, 19 May 2017 Reply

    i like that…..really nice lp…thanks again nikos and thanks to emmanuel for ur knowledge…Respect .

  • Bernard
    Posted at 21:49h, 19 May 2017 Reply

    you got it going on!!!! Thanks again!!!!!

  • Adrian Nelson
    Posted at 22:03h, 19 May 2017 Reply

    One of the greatest funk jams ever….

  • Edgar
    Posted at 23:49h, 19 May 2017 Reply

    Pure, & Timeless

  • Roger
    Posted at 11:17h, 20 May 2017 Reply

    Intensely satisfying! Thanks for this great upload.

  • Curtis
    Posted at 16:18h, 20 May 2017 Reply

    This is a solid slab of classic. Great record.

  • Roy
    Posted at 19:03h, 22 May 2017 Reply

    heavenly. simply divine.

  • Rhodesfan
    Posted at 17:58h, 23 May 2017 Reply

    Simply amazing, up lifting music! 

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