In Memoriam: Joe Byrd

Joe ByrdJazz bassist Joe Byrd has passed away at the age of 78, following injuries from a car accident.

Byrd was best known as the bassist for his brother Charlie Byrd’s trio and was featured on the album Jazz Samba with Stan Getz, which is credited as the first major bossa nova album on the American jazz scene.

Born in Chuckatuck, Virginia in 1933, Byrd began bass at an early age and was influenced by southern roots music. While studying classical music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland, he played local jazz clubs, eventually joining his brother’s trio for good in 1963. The band went on to tour over 100 countries as performers as well as Good Will Ambassadors for the State Department.

Throughout the years, Byrd played with many jazz greats that visited the Washington, D.C. area, including Teddy Wilson, Jimmy Witherspoon, Mose Allison, and Coleman Hawkins. After his brother’s death in 1999, he formed his own trio and went on to record several of his own albums. He retired from playing in 2008.

Our condolences to the family and friends of Joe Byrd.

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