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Donald Byrd's Winning Hand
on August 24, 2006
After years of pleading by many a jazz fan, Donald Byrd's "Royal Flush" finally has been released as a domestic CD in the RVG Series. (Thankfully it has also been available for some time in the 6CD Mosaic set "The Complete Blue Note Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Studio Sessions.") This September 21, 1961 session has to be considered the trumpeter's best Blue Note album. Not only does it feature six standout, classic post bop tracks, impeccably performed by Byrd and his musical soulmate, the bartione saxophonist Pepper Adams (What a glorious sound they make together!), but it is also a jazz landmark for several important reasons. "Royal Flush" is the first Blue Note album to feature the magical rhythm duo of Butch Warren on bass and Billy Higgins on drums, a pair that would go on to provide the backbone of famous records by Dexter Gordon, Sonny Clark, Jackie McLean, and Herbie Hancock among others. And speaking of Hancock, "Royal Flush" was the legendary pianist's first Blue Note session to be released, and it contains his first recorded composition, "Requiem." In all, don't fold on this one -- "Royal Flush" is a winning hand and a jazz classic!