David Byrd's Bio

Born and raised on the musical mecca of 47th street in Chicago, Byrd grew up listening to all the greats like Lou Rawls, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and BB King, to name a few, who played at the Regal Theater, where his uncle, Red Saunders was the drummer and bandleader. On the same block of 47th and Drexel Blvd. where he lived, jazz greats like Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons played at the Southerland hotel. Although he had well respected jazz uncles Red Saunders, and the pianist Earl Washington, he didn't really appreciate them fully at the time, and preferred to play funk with top 40 bands in Chicago. He did not get serious about jazz until he went to the jam sessions that were hosted by Sonny Stitt at the Grass Hut on 79th street, He then enrolled in Chicago State University to study under the great Bunky Green in 1977, but did not devote himself totally to jazz, and continued to play funk until 1979. He discovered reggae music through a Bob Marley performance at The Quiet Knight in Chicago in 1979, and was inspired by the great messages of Bob Marley and Steel Pulse. He decided that he wanted to say something important in his lyrics, similar to his reggae and jazz heroes like,Eddie Jefferson, Gil Scott Heron, Oscar Brown Jr, (who lived down the street on Drexel Blvd) also inspired that train of thought. He formed a horn section that worked with many of the major reggae artist's playing in Chicago like Dennis Brown, Ken Booth and Yellowman, to name a few, and was then inspired to write original music that would blend his two great loves, jazz and reggae with Master musicians like Hamid Drake and Daryl A. Thompson, Pete Cosey and other accomplished musicians who were on the same page.

Specializing in a jazz vocal tradition called "vocalese" which originated with Eddie Jefferson who he met at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago shortly before his untimely death, he started with straight ahead jazz, and then carved out a unique musical niche with the combination of jazz and reggae, forming "Byrds of a Feather', and spreading his JazzReggae message of love. David Byrd has written and produced music for himself and other bandleaders, releasing a string of his own critically acclaimed CD's :In Consciousness" (1992) "Chi-Town Reggae" (1994) , "Shockproof" (1996), "Soul Development" (1999), "Jazzreggae.com" (2005) and "Soul Journey" (2012); and toured relentlessly on the national circuit. He moved west to Oakland in 2013.

The Bay Area version of Byrds of a Feather has been playing this unique blend of JazzReggae, and have done successful gigs at The Civic Center,The Cliffhouse, Jupiter, The Lake Chalet, The Impulse Room, Fenix, The Terrace Room, The Transamerica Pyramid, Amnesia, Birdland, Savannah Jazz, Grant and Green, 7 Mile House etc.

He has carved out a unique musical niche with the combination of jazz and reggae , forming "Byrds of a Feather', and spreading his JazzReggae message of love.

Earnest Ranglin, Eddie Jefferson, Oscar Brown Jr., Gil Scott Heron, Steel Pulse, Lou Rawls, Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Sonny Criss, Bunky Green and Bob Marley