Donald Byrd – Slow Drag (1967)

There is a refreshing summery spontaneity about this 1967 release, set in motion by the loose-limbed opening title track featuring a scene stealing spoken ad-lib by drummer Billy Higgins, onward through a tumbling run-through of ‘Secret Love’ where Donald Byrd fires scattergun runs during the verses. ‘Book’s Bossa’ unwinds gradually, the herky-jerky ‘Jelly Roll’ hops about like a frog in a sock and ‘The Loner’ has a cool simmer that provides a slowly shifting platform for Sonny Red’s weaving and honking solo. The closer is an exquisite trumpet and brushes slow-burn that picks up slightly while the sax and piano say their farewells, then winds-up gently like a crimson sunset over the sea.




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