Donald Byrd, 80, the jazz trumpeter, died on Feb. 4. He had first joined Local 802 in 1974.
When he was still a high school student in Detroit, Mr. Byrd was already performing with Lionel Hampton. After moving to New York in 1955, he became one of the top players when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He was soon playing with Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Max Roach.
Mr. Byrd liked to stretch boundaries. In 1958, he formed a hard-bop band with Pepper Adams and Herbie Hancock. Fifteen years later, he released “Black Byrd,” a fusion album that was Blue Note’s best-selling album.
Mr. Byrd was also a pioneer in jazz education. He earned a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. He was the first person to teach jazz at Rutgers University and he formed the jazz studies department at Howard University. At Howard, he formed a fusion group called the Blackbyrds with some of his best students.
Mr. Byrd earned a law degree and later a doctorate from New York’s Teachers College, Columbia University. He created an innovative curriculum called “Music + Math (equals) Art,” in which he changed notes into numbers to teach music and math at the same time.
His recordings have been sampled on more than 100 hip-hop songs by such performers as Black Moon, Nas, Ludacris and A Tribe Called Quest.
In 2000, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Byrd as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest jazz honor.
See a tribute to Donald Byrd by Jimmy Owens in The Musicians’ Voice.
Bernard Kundell, 98, a violinist and a Local 802 member since 1932, died last Dec. 30. Mr. Kundell graduated from Juilliard in 1939, where he studied under a scholarship with Albert Spaulding. His varied career included playing with the NBC Symphony under Toscanini and Stokowski in New York, and in California with MGM Studios, the Percy Faith Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. Mr. Kundell played with Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Barbra Streisand, among many others. He performed in Europe and all over the greater Los Angeles area. Mr. Kundell founded the Coriolan String Quartet, which played throughout southern California.
He is survived by his children Linda Kundell, Vivian Van Lier, and Dr. Stephen Kundell, and by his wife, Mira Broder.
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR CHARLIE RUSSO
A memorial service and gathering will be held for clarinetist Charles Russo, who passed away last Nov. 24 at the age of 86 after being a Local 802 member since 1950. (We printed an obituary for Mr. Russo in our January issue.) The service will be on Sunday, March 10 on the 10th floor of Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Dr., from 2 to 6 p.m. RSVPs are requested. For more info or to RSVP, call Dave Carey at (845) 358-1036.
We also remember…
Natalie V. Charlson, piano
Sherman Goldscheid, violin
Dick Hafer, saxophone
Gordon A. Hardy, piano
Sheldon Hendler, M.D., PhD, trumpet
James B. Holmes II, saxophone
Bernard Kushel, solovox
Vinny (Ocharsky) Owens, drums
Lawrence N. Pearlstein, piano
Sid Polay, bass
Ferdinand D. Pranzatelli, violin
Mel Rose, bass
Sara Sandrof, piano
Sanford J. Siegelstein, French horn
Earl C. Williams, drums
Jacob Jack Zuckerman, saxophone
Allegro is pleased to print information on memorial events for deceased members of Local 802. To submit information, send an e-mail to Allegro@Local802afm.org or call (646) 765-9663.