Jazz great Donald Byrd died last week at the age of 80. The the video below is his amazing jazz hymn, “Cristo Redentor,” which appeared on the classic 1964 album A New Perspective.
About the project, Byrd said: “I mean this album seriously. Because of my own background, I’ve always wanted to write an entire album of spiritual-like pieces. The most accurate way I can describe what we were all trying to do is that this is a modern hymnal. In an earlier period, the New Orleans jazzmen would often play religious music for exactly what it was – but with their own jazz textures and techniques added. Now, as modern jazzmen, we’re also approaching this tradition with respect and great pleasure.”
Here is the lineup on the album:
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Hank Mobley – tenor saxophone
Herbie Hancock – piano
Kenny Burrell – guitar
Donald Best – vibraphone, vocals
Butch Warren – bass
Lex Humphries – drums
Duke Pearson – arranger
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson – choir direction
R.I.P Donald Byrd, you will be missed, and remembered.
More: Read the New York Times obituary for Donald Byrd.
Jay Jurisich says
Here is a Medium article by Brian Gilmore, ‘Cristo Redentor’ & Duke Pearson, that tells the story of Pearson writing this song. “The song is a slow hymn, a graceful peaceful musical walk of respect and tribute to the power of humanity and art.”
It’s a beautiful song – would make great movie music – looks like it’s been done. Donald Byrd’s original, Havey Mandel’s, Duke’s from ’69 (my favorite?) they’re all great! Even a modern version of Canned Heat does it pretty well. These are just the few I’ve heard.
Johnnie Hulittle says
Wow! I never knew this. Duke Pearson found it more important to uplift his brother (Donald Byrd) rather than receiving all the accolades for himself. Duke is a rare spirit… And the story that motivated him to put pen in hand is truly spiritual. No wonder it has such a profound affect on the listener…
According to jazz critis.Jazz Historians.Jazz Journals and the like Have pretty much taken,Christo Redentor and credited Burd with writing it.How brazing and untrue this is Yes Byrd recorded it first in 1964 on his New Perspective album..Which was a spiritual type album somewhat.And a great piece of work.But unfortunately,those critics i mentioned above have it all wrong.And have taken the cridit away from the rightful composer in many ways.And that person is Atlantas own Duke Pearson.He allowed Byrd to record it first to get his name out there.They were collaborators and close musical peers.And sometimes didnt know who wrote what its been said.But Christo Redentor was pinned by D.P.on tour with the Nancy Wilson troupe 1961.As the plane decended into Rio.And he had wrote Christo Redentor before the plane had landed.And said he had never been that close to god before.Let get it right and give D.P.his props.And secure his rightful place in the jazz historybooks.
Nephew of the late Duke Pearson
the jazz diva says
Thank you. Long live Duke Pearson’s Music and Spirit!
Thank you for that information. I have fallen in love with this song. It’s so much like a spiritual. Do you know if there were ever lyrics to this song? Thanks again.
First let’s correct my name.Its Rudy not Ridy [it’s been corrected above].Its not a big deal but mainly wanted to correct it.Uncle Duke and Byrd was very good friends as well as musical peers.And colaberated on so many things.Words to Christo Redentor was written before the plane landed while decending into Rio while he was on tour with Nancy Wilson.Words was put to it later but Oscar Brown Jr.I know uncle Duke would have not liked it.Join us on Facebook at The Duke Pearson Group Tribute page.To learn more.