Legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd died earlier this week at the age of 80, but news of his death was only just confirmed.
Amoeba reports that Byrd's nephew, Alex Bugnon, confirmed via Facebook that his uncle died on Feb. 4, adding that for an unexplained reason other family members were trying to keep the news of his death private.
"I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family," wrote Bugnon.
Byrd was born in Detroit in 1932, and was already an accomplished trumpeter by the time he finished high school. He later went on to play in a military band during his term in the United States Air Force, and then obtained a bachelor's degree in music from Wayne State University and a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music.
His career began when he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, as a replacement for Clifford Brown, in the 1950s, and formed the fusion group The Blackbyrds in the early 1970s. According to Amoeba, Byrd was a "one of a kind trumpeter," who was known not just for his work in jazz, but also in R&B, soul and funk music, and it was his ability to transcend time and genre and remain relevant that sets his work apart from others.
The cause of death has yet to be released, and in a statement his nephew wrote:
"Let's remember Donald as a one of a kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education. In sum, Donald was an avid, eternal student of music, until his death. That's what I try to be, everyday!! Rest in peace, uncle!"
Funk legend Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner has died, according to friends and musicians.
“He was a great person with a lot of wisdom not just in music, but in life,” said Keith Harrison of the bands FAZE-O and the Dazz Band.
Bonner, who helped make Dayton the Land of Funk , reportedly had cancer and died Saturday.
Harrison said the Ohio Players and Bonner, a front man and guitarist, took FAZE-O under its wings.
He received word of Bonner’s passing from Marshall “Rock” Jones and another Ohio Players band member.
“He was an extraordinary person,” Harrison said of Bonner.
Dayton musician Ronald Frost, a friend of Bonner’s, said that Bonner will be remembered for his kindness and heart.
“He was one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Frost said.
Frost’s father, keyboardist Ronald Nooks , is also a member of the Ohio Players.
“He was a good friend of my dad’s,” Frost said.
Based in Dayton, the Ohio Players rocketed onto the international stage in the 1970s with string of funk hits, including “Fire,” “Skin Tight” and “Love Rollercoaster.”