Track Of The Week #27 – Donald Byrd – ‘Fallin Like (Dominoes)’

Daaaaamn Donald. It’s rare that you find music that picks you up regardless of your mood. Uplifting music is something we associate with helping us when we’re down in the dumps. ‘Fallin like Dominoes’ however, takes the word ‘uplifting’ to a whole new level. This is a track so good, that it can pluck someone from a pile of shit and place them bang at the top of Mount Everest, feeling as fresh as fly as can be. This feeling is down to the master, the don himself, Donald Byrd. Byrd was a jazz and blues trumpeter who famously pioneered the American funk and soul movement whilst remaining a crucial part of the jazz scene. Although his time in jazz rarely held him as the lead, his time in funk defined Byrd as an unbelievably talented and iconic player who had an ear for all things groovy. His jazz career was one of high acclaim and recognition. Being one of Art Blakely’s Jazz messengers ensured a long and prosperous career as the trumpeter went on to work with the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Max Roach and was frequently in demand as one of the world’s best session musicians. His impact on the world of Jazz, funk and blues was so significant that you really need to look no further than his discography to understand the sheer magnitude of his influence. Throughout his career he was sampled, featured on, lead, produced and was accompanied on over two hundred albums.


Today I am solely focusing on one album however, and one song in particular. That song is ‘Fallin Like Dominoes’ and came out in the thick of Byrd’s jazz-inspired funk phase. The song was released on the album ‘Places and Spaces’ in 1975, an album which can best be described as ‘Jazz-Fusion’. The record was released on Blue Note Recordings, the major label in which Byrd spent majority of his career. The BBC described the album as an “Out-and-out jazz funk classic which perfectly showcases Byrd’s incredible musicianship”. They also went on to say how the album, like many other of his, provided the Hip-Hop generation with a rich easel of samples for future use. The album also includes such hits as ‘Changes(Makes you wanna hustle)’ and ‘Places and Spaces’, sampled in Pete Rock and Cl Smooth’s ‘All the places’. Enough of the album anyway, that’s something for you to explore. I want to focus on ‘Fallin Like (Dominoes)’ , this week’s track of the week and a tune that I personally feel should be a part of everyone’s day to day. The musicians lure you in with the catchiest of bass lines which is then met by the man himself, Donald Byrd. Byrd’s trumpet cuts through the music with ease and instantly excites the listener. After setting the tone, the uplifting vocals come in and reassures any anxieties whatsoever.

Byrd knows how to treat his listeners and with lyrics like ‘A-pretty baby dry your eyes don’t you know it can’t be that bad’ and ‘We’ll stand our problems all in a row and watch them fall, like dominoes’ then the super-fly trumpeter has his listeners on cloud nine, every single time.

Listen & enjoy here –


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