Jazz King Dies at 80
Jazz musician Donald Bryd died at the age of 80. He was a leading trumpeter of the 1950s who worked with many top artists of his time. He was best known for being one of the few bebop jazz musicians who successfully introduced the funk and soul genres while remaining a jazz artist.
He died February 4 in Delaware, according to Haley Funeral Directors in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Mich., which is handling arrangements. It did not have details on his death.
Byrd was a father in jazz education, attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit, played in military bands in the Air Force and moved to New York in 1955. He became one of the most in-demand trumpeters in New York and played alongside many famous musicians such as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk.
In 1958, Bryd signed a recording contract with the Blue Note label an formed a band with a fellow Detroit native, Pepper Adams. The band became one of the leading hands of hard-bop style, which evolved from bebop blended with R&B, soul and gospel.
In the 1960s, Byrd received his master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, and became the first person to teach jazz at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and started the jazz studies department at Howard University in Washington D.C.
Byrd began to move from jazz to a more commercial sound with the funk-jazz fusion. He released albums and received many criticisms from the media. “I’m creative; I’m not re-creative,” Byrd told the Detroit Free Press in a 1999 interview. “I don’t follow what everybody else does.”
Bryrd began to attend law school at night and received a law degree in 1976. In 1982, Byrd, received his doctorate from New York Teachers College, Columbia University. He turned his attention from performing to educating. He became a distinguished scholar at William Paterson University and Delaware State University.
In the late ‘80s and ‘90s, he performed for several albums for the Landmark label.
In 2000, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Byrd as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest jazz honor.
Country Singer Succumbs to Mental Illness
By Abigail Wolfgang
Malinda Gayle McCready, better known as Mindy, died this week at the age of 37. The well-known country star, born in Fort Myers, Florida, succumbed to her struggles with mental health illness and committed suicide. She was found shot alongside her dog on her Arkansas home’s front porch.
Mindy had always been at the center of the news for her child custody battles, police investigations, drug issues, and multiple mental health problems, often overshadowing her musical career.
Mother to eight-year-old, Zander, and nearly one-year old Zayne, Mindy was no stranger to controversy. The star was linked to the famous and married baseball player Roger Clemens at the young age of 15, and even had a sex tape scandal.
At the age of 30, Mindy’s boyfriend William Patrick McKnight was arrested for attempted murder when he beat and choked her. In the following year of their relationship, McKnight witnessed two of her many attempted suicides.
Along with mental health issues, Mindy battled with drug abuse problems, finding herself on Celebrity Rehab and then hospitalized of an overdose in 2010.
Mindy’s legal issues included a DUI, the use of false prescriptions for painkillers, identity theft, battery of her mother, and multiple jail stays.
Most striking about Mindy’s suicide is that her youngest son’s father, record producer David Wilson, was found shot on his front porch only a month earlier.
The death of Mindy and her ex, Wilson, will continue to be investigated. Both of Mindy’s children are currently in foster care, but the older son’s father, McKnight, hopes to gain custody of his son.
Sadly, the tragedy of Mindy’s life seemed to be more newsworthy for the public than her very successful release of four albums and 12 Billboard singles. Mindy’s seven years of voice lessons led her to a recording contract, and placed her on stage with superstars George Strait, and Tim McGraw, but her life was a constant struggle.
Many other country singers have offered their condolences to the McCready family acknowledging the seriousness of mental illness including Carrie Underwood, and Wynonna Judd via their twitter pages.
Mindy’s family members, friends, and fans plan to celebrate her shortened life at a Nashville memorial. The date and time of the event are currently unknown.
For those who grieve the loss of Mindy, her words found on her Facebook fan page may serve as some comfort, "In life I believe everything happens for a reason, even when I don't understand I still believe there is a perfect plan for everything...every laugh, every tear, every moment, I love the dance..."
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