One of the great trumpeters to emerge from the 1950s, Donald Byrd helped to define hard bop. Although he gained his greatest fame in the 1970s when he recorded commercially successful funk albums, he was at the height of his swinging powers back in the late-50s and early-60s when he cut a series of history making albums for the Blue Note label.
1963's A New Perspective finds Byrd leading an all-star septet with Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Donald Best (vibraphone, vocals), Butch Warren (bass) and Lex Humphries (drums). What sets the date apart, however, is the gospel and blues arrangements of Duke Pearson and the spiritual 8-piece vocal choir directed by Coleridge Perkinson.
"Because of my own background, I've always wanted to write an entire album of spiritual-like pieces. The most accurate way I can describe what we were all trying to do is that this is a modern hymnal. In an earlier period, the New Orleans jazzmen would often play religious music for exactly what it was - but with their own jazz textures and techniques added. Now, as modern jazzmen, we're also approaching this tradition with respect and great pleasure." - Donald Byrd