Praise for Eric Byrd Trio
Saints Are Still Marching is an upbeat CD from ERIC BYRD’s Trio [Bhagwan Khalsa-b, Alphonso Young-drm] with Terell Stafford [tpt] and Tim Warfield [sax] guesting on 3 of the 9 tracks. Subtitled Sacred Music Vol. 1 the program is a mixture of spirituals and hymns (traditional and modern). Pianist Byrd sings on 3 tracks. […] An uptempo “Closer Walk” is a wonderful closer for the program.
For their eighth recording in 20 years, The Eric Byrd Trio presents nine gospel classics in the style of jazz. The result of the ensemble melding styles is the creation of a traditional-sounding third genre. There are no gimmicks, only the celebration of a genre with a higher calling.
Pianist Eric Byrd leads a trio with Bhagwan Khalsa on bass and drummer Alphonso Young, Jr. Saints Are Still Marching is a fresh collection of jazzy spirituals, hymns and gospel tunes. Special guests Tim Warfield (sax) and Terell Stafford (t) add additional color to three of the nine selections. Eric also sings on several tracks notably “Calvary.” The mood is upbeat and the groove is solid end to end.
-D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz Newsletter
The pairing of jazz and spiritual music sometimes fares well and sometimes not. This album is one of the times where the pairing fares well. Very well in fact. I thoroughly enjoyed the album, especially the songs that featured Terrell Stafford and Tim Warfield. If you like spiritual music and good jazz then the mixture of both on this album might just be worth checking out.
-Bruce Von Stiers, BVS Reviews
This crew might take jazz to church but the results are good timing, ecumenical music for all. Solid swingers that must have spent some time in the sanctified church to feel free to swing like this, a good time will be had by all even if you’re being purified while the date plays. Winning stuff that’s good for both religion and jazz.
Pianist Eric Byrd brings his trio of Bhagwan Khalsa/b and Alphonso Young Jr/dr along with first time visitors Terell Stafford/tp and Tim Warfield/sax for Sunday morning stomping versions of traditional hymns and spirituals. Pieces like the modal “Calvary” or funky “I Want Jesus To Walk With Me” can only be performed and sung by a guy like Byrd if he’s been sitting in the pews for awhile, and he sounds like he was weaned on Vacation Bible School.
-George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
“Throughout his trio’s concert at the Kennedy Center, Eric Byrd sounded as if he were strolling through a southern town, taking in the spiritual sounds of the church house one moment and the earthy rumble of the roadhouse the next. Rousing gospel-tinged chords and trilling blues runs are fundamental elements of Byrd’s piano style, along with the principles of swing and bop, and he used these techniques to expressive effect throughout the concert.
-Mike Joyce, music journalist, Washington Post
Eric Byrd hints at his gospel background just by his song titles and shows it in the first track, “Sunday Mo’nin’ Chu’ch”, a rollicking piece of Bobby Timmons-style gospel Blues that the trio swings manfully. On standards like “Get Happy” and “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” he plays in a more mainstream style but always with a touch of down-home soul present. On “Nanami” he switches gears again and uses the hard and fast attack of McCoy Tyner. On a few tracks Byrd even sings in a decent soulful tenor voice with Paul Carr’s sax adding some R&B grease. The CD climaxes grandly with “We are One’ where Byrd works grandly with a quasi-African melody, a children’s choir chants, and Carr whips around of high-Flying soprano sax. This is an impressive first statement for Eric Byrd with a strong sense of soul and divine inspiration.
– Cadence Magazine