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Rooster_Ties

Donald Byrd - Ethiopian Knights

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For years, I'd find various Donald Byrd BN dates from the 70's on CD in the used bins, and every time I went to sample them - I ran for the hills like my life depended on it. I've got everything up through "Kofi" (and think "Kofi", "Electric Byrd", and "Fancy Free" are all pretty solid). And I thought I had all the Byrd leader-dates I ever needed. But my question is...

What's up with Ethiopian Knights?? I thought this was a Mizell production, but my on-line poking around today seems to indicate otherwise. I just found the whole album uploaded to Youtube, and am mostly diggin' it (at least the groove, which is solid as a heart attack). It ain't mind-blowing as far as the soloing, but if this were on any label other than Blue Note, and by some random unknown trumpeter -- I'd say this date would pretty much exceed expectations, and be considered a fairly solid, if maybe flawed date. (But being on BN, and being Byrd - expectations are completely different, I'll grant everyone that.) It's that groove that's got me hooked, and makes up for the soloists maybe not bringing their 'A' game.

Wholly apart from Byrd's and BN's legacy, what do people think of this one? Pretend it isn't Byrd, and isn't on BN... Worth it? Or not? For instance, until today I had no idea Harold Land and Bobby Hutcherson were both on this date. That's gotta count for something?

The two long tracks have me tempted (Youtube clips below), even if I can't stand the ballad (which, thankfully, is pretty short - the same Youtube user has it uploaded too, if anyone really wants to hear it). Thoughts??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVuIpl_0fyg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Jdwbkqm88U

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Got a copy in the early 80s, saw the personnel and the concept and had some hopes...and am still trying to find a way to like it as anything other than a "document"...the whole is less than the sum of the parts, I think.

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I think it is good. Solid groove.

Yeah, it's the groove that's hookin' me in, definitely. I get how the whole thing doesn't quite gel, but damn - that groove!! :P

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That album is a blast! I would definitely recommend it.

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I like it OK. Way better than the Mizell dates, which I couldn't stand then and can't stand now. Not earthshaking. If you like the ones that came right before it that you mentioned, you should like this one fine.

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I like it OK. Way better than the Mizell dates, which I couldn't stand then and can't stand now. Not earthshaking. If you like the ones that came right before it that you mentioned, you should like this one fine.

FWIW, those were produced by Duke Pearson. this one was produced by George Butler, subsequent ones by, as noted, the Mizell brothers.

So it's a "transitional" album, I think, not just musically, but in terms of Blue Note's direction.

I think Duke Pearson did it right. Those other guys, not so much.

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I'll invoke the F word regarding this album. Fun.

Admittedly, I'm one of the few who enjoys this period of Byrd and Blue Note. Not more than the classic period, but on its own. I think a lot of this stuff is fun to listen to. Love the Rare Grooves!

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A mild "nay" from me.

Me too.

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Ir makes my white boy 'fro grow. It's not a jazz album as much as it is some trippy heavy duty funk. And that is all right by me.

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I think I want to like it more than I actually like it. I'm a big fan of the earlier, more jazz oriented Byrd so this one never made it into the collection. I don't dislike it but I didn't like it enough to pick it up.

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Listened to one of the clips. I don't have the time left to waste it on stuff like this.

Others obviously have different opinions.

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I'm a bit younger than Paul, but I feel the same way.

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I like it OK. Way better than the Mizell dates, which I couldn't stand then and can't stand now. Not earthshaking. If you like the ones that came right before it that you mentioned, you should like this one fine.

FWIW, those were produced by Duke Pearson. this one was produced by George Butler, subsequent ones by, as noted, the Mizell brothers.

So it's a "transitional" album, I think, not just musically, but in terms of Blue Note's direction.

I think Duke Pearson did it right. Those other guys, not so much.

Agreed on all points. This one was starting down the slippery slope, but the Mizell Bros. stuff was jumping off the cliff. This one sells cheap enough (<$5 on Amazon Marketplace) that I still think it's worth it.

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I didn't like it when it came out - didn't buy it. Never tried to see if I was wrong. I like late sixties Byrd but after this one, not much. I agree with Paul and Dan.

MG

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I like it quite a bit.

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Got it, kept it. No problems here.

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Just listened to both of the long, trippy clips from Youtube - and am gonna pull the trigger on this one.

As I mentioned before, if this had been on any other label and by any lesser-known leader, I think it would be better though of (or the glass is definitely half full, even if you want to insist it's half empty).

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I threw this on expecting to give it a minute or two before putting in the divest pile. Was actually pleasantly surprised and I will be keeping it.

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Summer fling, don't mean a thing

But uh oh those Ethiopian Knights ;)

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Summer fling, don't mean a thing

But uh oh those Ethiopian Knights ;)

Tell me more....

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