THE BLACKBYRDS

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The Blackbyrds was a rhythm and blues and jazz-funk fusion group, formed in Washington, D.C. in 1973.

The group was led by trumpeter Donald Byrd and featured some of his Howard University students: Kevin Toney (keyboards), Keith Killgo (vocals, drums), Joe Hall (bass guitar), Allan Barnes (saxophone, clarinet), and Barney Perry (guitar). Orville Saunders (guitar), and Jay Jones (flute, saxophone) were later members of the group. They signed to Fantasy Records in 1973. They are best known for their 1975 hit "Walking in Rhythm", which received a Grammy nomination.

Their 1975 song "Rock Creek Park" from the City Life album has been sampled numerous times by groups such as De La Soul, Eric B. & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, NWA, Massive Attack, Ice Cube, Heavy D, Nas and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. The song has also appeared on the soundtrack to the popular video game Grand Theft Auto:
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The Best of BlackbyrdsThe Best of Blackbyrds
Beat Goes Public 2019
$11.36
$11.30 (used)
Action & Better DaysAction & Better Days
Bgp 2016
$11.36
$11.30 (used)
City Life [LP]City Life [LP]
Fantasy 2014
$12.80
$4.99 (used)
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The Blackbyrds ‎– City Life The Blackbyrds ‎– City Life USD $14.00 Buy It Now 3h
The Blackbyrds Night Grooves LP 1978 Fantasy F-9570 PROMO! Jazz/Funk RARE! OOP! The Blackbyrds Night Grooves LP 1978 Fantasy F-9570 PROMO! Jazz/Funk RARE! OOP! USD $26.99 Buy It Now 3h
THE BLACKBYRDS-LOVEBYRDS(SOFT & EAS  CD NEW THE BLACKBYRDS-LOVEBYRDS(SOFT & EAS CD NEW USD $13.51 Buy It Now 11h
The Blackbyrds 1976 Unfinished Business NEW - 8 Track Tape The Blackbyrds 1976 Unfinished Business NEW - 8 Track Tape USD $11.99 Buy It Now 12h
The Blackbyrds-The Blackbyrds  Vinyl / 12 The Blackbyrds-The Blackbyrds Vinyl / 12" Album NEW USD $24.88 Buy It Now 12h
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Donald Byrd - The Blackbyrds LP - Fantasy F-9444 - VG++ RARE JAZZ/FUNK/BREAKS Donald Byrd - The Blackbyrds LP - Fantasy F-9444 - VG++ RARE JAZZ/FUNK/BREAKS USD $4.50 (0 bids)
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The Blackbyrds - Night Grooves [New CD] UK - Import The Blackbyrds - Night Grooves [New CD] UK - Import USD $10.94 Buy It Now 16h
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the Blackbyrds, Unfinished Business (1976 Fantasy F-9518 LP) very good condition the Blackbyrds, Unfinished Business (1976 Fantasy F-9518 LP) very good condition USD $13.95 (0 bids)
21h
The BLACKBYRDS~Cornbread, Earl and Me~NEW SS Orig 1975 Fantasy F-9483 Sndtrk LP The BLACKBYRDS~Cornbread, Earl and Me~NEW SS Orig 1975 Fantasy F-9483 Sndtrk LP USD $22.95 Buy It Now 21h
The Blackbyrds Supernatural Feeling / Lookin Ahead The Blackbyrds Supernatural Feeling / Lookin Ahead USD $4.99 Buy It Now 22h
The Blackbyrds Unfinished Business SS New 1976 Fantasy Records LP F-9518 ST LP The Blackbyrds Unfinished Business SS New 1976 Fantasy Records LP F-9518 ST LP USD $13.95 Buy It Now 23h
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BS158P15 THE BLACKBYRDS : WALKING IN RHYTHM SINGLE ADVERT 11X8 BS158P15 THE BLACKBYRDS : WALKING IN RHYTHM SINGLE ADVERT 11X8" FRAMED USD $28.02 Buy It Now 1 day
The BLACKBYRDS - WALKING IN RHYTHM - 7 inch Single 1974 Uk release The BLACKBYRDS - WALKING IN RHYTHM - 7 inch Single 1974 Uk release USD $6.37 Buy It Now 1 day
THE BLACKBYRDS - Soft And Easy / Something Special 1977 DISCO FUNK 7 THE BLACKBYRDS - Soft And Easy / Something Special 1977 DISCO FUNK 7" USD $2.49 Buy It Now 1 day
THE BLACKBYRDS 7 THE BLACKBYRDS 7" CAMINANDO CON RITMO- EL BEBE argentina ID# 47438 1974- PROMO X USD $17.00 Buy It Now 1 day
THE BLACKBYRDS CITY LIFE FANTASY F-9490 Stereo LP THE BLACKBYRDS CITY LIFE FANTASY F-9490 Stereo LP USD $0.99 (1 bids)
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THE BLACKBYRDS SELF TITLED ORIGINAL 1974 FANTASY ISSUE LP F-9444 THE BLACKBYRDS SELF TITLED ORIGINAL 1974 FANTASY ISSUE LP F-9444 USD $22.48 Buy It Now 1 day
The Blackbyrds - Beat On Blackbyrds: The Best of the... - The Blackbyrds CD ZAVG The Blackbyrds - Beat On Blackbyrds: The Best of the... - The Blackbyrds CD ZAVG USD $17.27 Buy It Now 2 days
Blackbyrds-The Blackbyrds Blackbyrds-The Blackbyrds USD $16.48 Buy It Now 2 days
The Blackbyrds - Flying High 7 The Blackbyrds - Flying High 7" Mint- Promo Vinyl 45 Fantasy F-747-D USA 1975 USD $6.00 Buy It Now 2 days
The Blackbyrds - Flying High 7 The Blackbyrds - Flying High 7" VG+ Promo Vinyl 45 Fantasy F-747-A USA 1975 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 2 days
The Blackbyrds - Do It, Fluid 7 The Blackbyrds - Do It, Fluid 7" Mint- Promo Vinyl 45 Fantasy 729-A USA 1974 USD $18.00 Buy It Now 2 days
The Blackbyrds - Do It, Fluid / Summer Love 7 The Blackbyrds - Do It, Fluid / Summer Love 7" VG+ Vinyl 45 Fantasy 729 USA 1974 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2 days
The Blackbyrds ‎– Unfinished Business The Blackbyrds ‎– Unfinished Business USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2 days
The Blackbyrds - Happy Music: The Best of the Blackbyrds [New CD] The Blackbyrds - Happy Music: The Best of the Blackbyrds [New CD] USD $13.54 Buy It Now 3 days
THE BLACKBYRDS OST CORNBREAD EARL AND ME LP French 1975 THE BLACKBYRDS OST CORNBREAD EARL AND ME LP French 1975 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - ACTION/BETTER DAYS NEW CD THE BLACKBYRDS - ACTION/BETTER DAYS NEW CD USD $15.01 Buy It Now 3 days
Soul 45 The Blackbyrds - Party Land / In Life On Fantasy Soul 45 The Blackbyrds - Party Land / In Life On Fantasy USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3 days
The Blackbyrds/ Better Days, LP Vinyl The Blackbyrds/ Better Days, LP Vinyl USD $11.00 Buy It Now 3 days
The Blackbyrds - LoveByrds: Soft and Easy [New CD] The Blackbyrds - LoveByrds: Soft and Easy [New CD] USD $13.46 Buy It Now 3 days
Kool & The gang,Freddie Jackson,The Blackbyrds,The Four Tops,War,Little Anthony Kool & The gang,Freddie Jackson,The Blackbyrds,The Four Tops,War,Little Anthony USD $25.99 Buy It Now 3 days
The Blackbyrds The Blackbyrds "Flying Start" Orig Fantasy Gatefold JAZZ Vinyl LP # F-9472..VG+ USD $12.00 Buy It Now 4 days
The Blackbyrds - Greatest Hits CD The Blackbyrds - Greatest Hits CD USD $6.99 Buy It Now 4 days
THE BLACKBYRDS Flying Start funk soul spain 1975 marfer fantasy M.40.087 LP THE BLACKBYRDS Flying Start funk soul spain 1975 marfer fantasy M.40.087 LP USD $16.15 Buy It Now 4 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - I NEED YOU   7 THE BLACKBYRDS - I NEED YOU 7" VINYL USD $4.44 Buy It Now 4 days
Promo 45  THE BLACKBYRDS - Flying High excellent to nm clean vinyl Promo 45 THE BLACKBYRDS - Flying High excellent to nm clean vinyl USD $4.12 Buy It Now 4 days
The Blackbyrds - Blackbyrds/Flying Start [New CD] The Blackbyrds - Blackbyrds/Flying Start [New CD] USD $13.66 Buy It Now 4 days
THE BLACKBYRDS CITY LIFE FANTASY F-9490 Stereo LP THE BLACKBYRDS CITY LIFE FANTASY F-9490 Stereo LP USD $4.00 Buy It Now 4 days
The Blackbyrds - Blackbyrds / Flying Start [ CD] The Blackbyrds - Blackbyrds / Flying Start [ CD] USD $12.44 Buy It Now 4 days
The Blackbyrds-City Life  (UK IMPORT)  Vinyl / 12 The Blackbyrds-City Life (UK IMPORT) Vinyl / 12" Album NEW USD $17.42 Buy It Now 4 days
The Blackbyrds Greatest Hits CD Fantasy 1989 Very Good The Blackbyrds Greatest Hits CD Fantasy 1989 Very Good USD $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
The Blackbyrds - Action / Better Days The Blackbyrds - Action / Better Days USD $14.36 Buy It Now 4 days
The Blackbyrds: City Life LP The Blackbyrds: City Life LP USD $18.92 Buy It Now 5 days
BLACKBYRDS,THE-THE BLACKBYRDS  CD NEW BLACKBYRDS,THE-THE BLACKBYRDS CD NEW USD $13.51 Buy It Now 5 days
THE BLACKBYRDS UNFINISHED BUSINESS FANTACY F9518 USA 1976 [SEALED} THE BLACKBYRDS UNFINISHED BUSINESS FANTACY F9518 USA 1976 [SEALED} USD $25.00 Buy It Now 5 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - CITY LIFE/UNFINISHED BUSINESS NEW CD THE BLACKBYRDS - CITY LIFE/UNFINISHED BUSINESS NEW CD USD $17.54 Buy It Now 5 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - BLACKBYRDS/FLYING START NEW CD THE BLACKBYRDS - BLACKBYRDS/FLYING START NEW CD USD $13.42 Buy It Now 5 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - HAPPY MUSIC: THE BEST OF THE BLACKBYRDS NEW CD THE BLACKBYRDS - HAPPY MUSIC: THE BEST OF THE BLACKBYRDS NEW CD USD $13.55 Buy It Now 5 days
VINYL LP The Blackbyrds - Unfinished Business Fantasy F-9518 VINYL LP The Blackbyrds - Unfinished Business Fantasy F-9518 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 5 days
The Blackbyrds - Supernatural Feeling - Original issues The Blackbyrds - Supernatural Feeling - Original issues USD $4.99 Buy It Now 6 days
THE BLACKBYRDS Self Titled FANTASY NMint JAZZ Orig* FUNK Do It Fluid SOUL Styles THE BLACKBYRDS Self Titled FANTASY NMint JAZZ Orig* FUNK Do It Fluid SOUL Styles USD $19.99 Buy It Now 6 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - NIGHT GROOVES THE BLACKBYRDS - NIGHT GROOVES "ROCK CREEK PARK" US FANTASY 1978 ORIGINAL USD $25.46 Buy It Now 6 days
The Blackbyrds - Walking In Rhythm - Fantasy - 1974 - 7 The Blackbyrds - Walking In Rhythm - Fantasy - 1974 - 7" Northern Soul USD $5.09 (0 bids)
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Greatest Hits by The Blackbyrds (CD, Feb-1989, Fantasy) Greatest Hits by The Blackbyrds (CD, Feb-1989, Fantasy) USD $10.62 Buy It Now 6 days
O1-55 THE BLACKBYRDS Night Grooves ..... 1978 ..... F-9570 O1-55 THE BLACKBYRDS Night Grooves ..... 1978 ..... F-9570 USD $28.75 Buy It Now 6 days
The Blackbyrds & Charles Earland At The Movies (2001 Milestone CD) NEW FREE S&H The Blackbyrds & Charles Earland At The Movies (2001 Milestone CD) NEW FREE S&H USD $41.99 Buy It Now 6 days
The Blackbyrds 10 The Blackbyrds 10" x 8" Photograph no 1 USD $4.46 Buy It Now 6 days
THE BLACKBYRDS RARE 7 THE BLACKBYRDS RARE 7" WALKING IN RHYTHM 1974 SOUL USD $2.53 (0 bids)
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THE BLACKBYRDS ~ UNFINISHED BUSINESS  VINYL RECORD LP ~ 1976 FANTASY RECORDS THE BLACKBYRDS ~ UNFINISHED BUSINESS VINYL RECORD LP ~ 1976 FANTASY RECORDS USD $12.99 Buy It Now 6 days
SEALED 1980 FUNK SOUL LP / The Blackbyrds / BETTER DAYS / Fantasy F-9602 SEALED 1980 FUNK SOUL LP / The Blackbyrds / BETTER DAYS / Fantasy F-9602 USD $5.99 (1 bids)
6 days
◆FS◆THE BLACKBYRDS「CITY LIFE+UNFINISHED BUSINESS」JAPAN RARE CD NM◆CDSOL-7401 ◆FS◆THE BLACKBYRDS「CITY LIFE+UNFINISHED BUSINESS」JAPAN RARE CD NM◆CDSOL-7401 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Night Grooves: The Blackbyrds' Greatest Hits by Blackbyrds. Night Grooves: The Blackbyrds' Greatest Hits by Blackbyrds. USD $23.67 Buy It Now 7 days
The Blackbyrds-Unfinished Business  (UK IMPORT)  Vinyl / 12 The Blackbyrds-Unfinished Business (UK IMPORT) Vinyl / 12" Album NEW USD $24.91 Buy It Now 7 days
The Blackbyrds ‎– The Blackbyrds (Fantasy ‎– F-9444) Jazz, Funk / Soul LP The Blackbyrds ‎– The Blackbyrds (Fantasy ‎– F-9444) Jazz, Funk / Soul LP USD $13.89 Buy It Now 7 days
The Blackbyrds - I Need You 7 The Blackbyrds - I Need You 7" Single 1975 / DEMO USD $15.28 Buy It Now 7 days
The Blackbyrds - Happy Music / Love So Fine 7 The Blackbyrds - Happy Music / Love So Fine 7" Vinyl 45 VG+ 1975 Fantasty F-762 USD $6.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Soul 45 The Blackbyrds - Happy Music / Love So Fine On Fantasy Soul 45 The Blackbyrds - Happy Music / Love So Fine On Fantasy USD $5.00 Buy It Now 7 days
Soul 45 The Blackbyrds - Supernatural Feeling / Lookin' Ahead On Fantasy Records Soul 45 The Blackbyrds - Supernatural Feeling / Lookin' Ahead On Fantasy Records USD $5.00 Buy It Now 7 days
THE BLACKBYRDS unfinished business SEALED Fantasy Reissue LP Donald Byrd funk THE BLACKBYRDS unfinished business SEALED Fantasy Reissue LP Donald Byrd funk USD $10.95 Buy It Now 8 days
The Blackbyrds - Night Grooves - Extremely Rare Cassette Tape 1978 Soul Funk The Blackbyrds - Night Grooves - Extremely Rare Cassette Tape 1978 Soul Funk USD $12.72 (0 bids)
8 days
THE BLACkBYRDS FLYING STARTS FANTACY F9472 USA 1974  VG+/VG+ THE BLACkBYRDS FLYING STARTS FANTACY F9472 USA 1974 VG+/VG+ USD $35.00 Buy It Now 8 days
Unfinished Business LP by The Blackbyrds vinyl 2014 reissue brand new unopened Unfinished Business LP by The Blackbyrds vinyl 2014 reissue brand new unopened USD $14.99 Buy It Now 8 days
DONALD BYRD & THE BLACKBYRDS - LIVE AT THE JAZZ WORKSHOP 1973 (New & Sealed) CD DONALD BYRD & THE BLACKBYRDS - LIVE AT THE JAZZ WORKSHOP 1973 (New & Sealed) CD USD $7.63 Buy It Now 8 days
THE BLACKBYRDS BETTER DAYS ORIGINAL 1980 ISSUE LP W/ LYRIC SLEEVE F-9602 THE BLACKBYRDS BETTER DAYS ORIGINAL 1980 ISSUE LP W/ LYRIC SLEEVE F-9602 USD $9.73 Buy It Now 8 days
The Blackbyrds - Happy Music * Fantasy F-762-D Funk Disco 12” Promo Rare! The Blackbyrds - Happy Music * Fantasy F-762-D Funk Disco 12” Promo Rare! USD $100.00 Buy It Now 8 days
Nona Hendryx Blues & Soul Issue 235 1977 The Emotions Freda Payne The Blackbyrds Nona Hendryx Blues & Soul Issue 235 1977 The Emotions Freda Payne The Blackbyrds USD $12.73 Buy It Now 8 days
NIGHT GROOVES: THE BLACKBYRDS' GREATEST HITS NEW CD NIGHT GROOVES: THE BLACKBYRDS' GREATEST HITS NEW CD USD $10.93 Buy It Now 9 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - CITY LIFE/UNFINISHED BUSINESS NEW CD THE BLACKBYRDS - CITY LIFE/UNFINISHED BUSINESS NEW CD USD $13.65 Buy It Now 9 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - BEST OF THE BLACKBYRDS NEW CD THE BLACKBYRDS - BEST OF THE BLACKBYRDS NEW CD USD $17.56 Buy It Now 9 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - CITY LIFE/UNFINISHED BUSINESS USED - VERY GOOD CD THE BLACKBYRDS - CITY LIFE/UNFINISHED BUSINESS USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $10.49 Buy It Now 9 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - BEST OF THE BLACKBYRDS USED - VERY GOOD CD THE BLACKBYRDS - BEST OF THE BLACKBYRDS USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $14.82 Buy It Now 9 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - THE BLACKBYRDS NEW VINYL RECORD THE BLACKBYRDS - THE BLACKBYRDS NEW VINYL RECORD USD $22.18 Buy It Now 9 days
THE BLACKBYRDS-THE BLACKBYRDS:CITY LIFE NEW VINYL RECORD THE BLACKBYRDS-THE BLACKBYRDS:CITY LIFE NEW VINYL RECORD USD $17.41 Buy It Now 9 days
The Blackbyrds ‎– Supernatural Feeling / Lookin' Ahead Promo UK 7inch 45 single The Blackbyrds ‎– Supernatural Feeling / Lookin' Ahead Promo UK 7inch 45 single USD $12.71 Buy It Now 9 days
The Blackbyrds-Unfinished Business  (UK IMPORT)  Vinyl / 12 The Blackbyrds-Unfinished Business (UK IMPORT) Vinyl / 12" Album NEW USD $22.84 Buy It Now 9 days
The BlackByrds Unfinished Business 1976 33 LP 12 The BlackByrds Unfinished Business 1976 33 LP 12" Gatefold Excel USD $12.95 Buy It Now 10 days
SEALED NEW CD Blackbyrds, The - The Blackbyrds + Flying Start SEALED NEW CD Blackbyrds, The - The Blackbyrds + Flying Start USD $13.79 Buy It Now 11 days
THE BLACKBYRDS --- FLYING START --- FANTASY RECORDS --- FT 522 --- RELEASED 1974 THE BLACKBYRDS --- FLYING START --- FANTASY RECORDS --- FT 522 --- RELEASED 1974 USD $28.00 Buy It Now 11 days
45 RECORD 7 45 RECORD 7"- THE BLACKBYRDS - SUPERNATURAL FEELING USD $1.75 Buy It Now 11 days
The Blackbyrds  - City Life 1975 vinyl LP FANTASY label F 9490 The Blackbyrds - City Life 1975 vinyl LP FANTASY label F 9490 USD $25.47 Buy It Now 11 days
The Blackbyrds - Flying Start [New Vinyl] UK - Import The Blackbyrds - Flying Start [New Vinyl] UK - Import USD $19.34 Buy It Now 11 days
The Blackbyrds - Action/Better Days [New CD] UK - Import The Blackbyrds - Action/Better Days [New CD] UK - Import USD $13.42 Buy It Now 11 days
The Blackbyrds - Action/Better Days [New CD] UK - Import The Blackbyrds - Action/Better Days [New CD] UK - Import USD $11.43 Buy It Now 11 days
THE BLACKBYRDS - SELF TITLED - FANTASY 9444 - VINYL 12 THE BLACKBYRDS - SELF TITLED - FANTASY 9444 - VINYL 12" RECORD LP USD $18.99 Buy It Now 12 days
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THE BLACKBYRDS Discography

THE BLACKBYRDS albums / top albums

THE BLACKBYRDS The Blackbyrds album cover 4.00 | 3 ratings
The Blackbyrds
Funk Jazz 1974
THE BLACKBYRDS Flying Start album cover 3.91 | 3 ratings
Flying Start
Funk Jazz 1974
THE BLACKBYRDS Cornbread, Earl And Me album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Cornbread, Earl And Me
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1975
THE BLACKBYRDS City Life album cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
City Life
Funk Jazz 1975
THE BLACKBYRDS Unfinished Business album cover 3.02 | 3 ratings
Unfinished Business
Funk 1976
THE BLACKBYRDS Action album cover 2.25 | 2 ratings
Action
Funk Jazz 1977
THE BLACKBYRDS Better Days album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Better Days
Funk Jazz 1980
THE BLACKBYRDS Gotta Fly album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gotta Fly
Funk Jazz 2012

THE BLACKBYRDS EPs & splits

THE BLACKBYRDS live albums

THE BLACKBYRDS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

THE BLACKBYRDS re-issues & compilations

THE BLACKBYRDS Night Grooves album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Night Grooves
Funk Jazz 1978
THE BLACKBYRDS The Beat on Blackbyrds album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Beat on Blackbyrds
Funk Jazz 1988
THE BLACKBYRDS City Life / Unfinished Business album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
City Life / Unfinished Business
Funk Jazz 1994
THE BLACKBYRDS The Best Of album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of
Funk Jazz 1999
THE BLACKBYRDS The Blackbyrds & Charles Earland : At The Movies album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Blackbyrds & Charles Earland : At The Movies
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2001
THE BLACKBYRDS Walking in Rhythm: The Essential Selection 1973-1980 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Walking in Rhythm: The Essential Selection 1973-1980
Funk Jazz 2013

THE BLACKBYRDS singles (0)

THE BLACKBYRDS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

THE BLACKBYRDS Reviews

THE BLACKBYRDS Flying Start

Album · 1974 · Funk Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Donald Byrd was not only one of the top jazz trumpeteers of the 60s and beyond, but also a music professor at Howard University and one of those talented individuals who could foresee upcoming musical trends and capitalize on them. Sometime in the early 70s, Donald recruited some of the top local talent for his university jazz ensemble and then figured if he could get these guys in a recording studio and on the road he could have a top notch jazz/RnB group on his hands, and so it came to pass that the Blackbyrds came to be. “Flying Start” was actually the Blackbyrd’s second album, but possibly the first one where they developed their own identity outside of Byrd’s well known persona and finds them working within their familiar territory of funk jazz and proto-disco RnB. The Blackbyrd’s early albums are their best, and “Flying Start” is no exception as it features super hot funky grooves and plenty of top notch jazz solos from the band members, plus horn work from some famous guests including Ernie Watts and George Bohanon.

Almost every track on here is good with some standouts including the supercharged disco funk of “I Need You”, possibly one of the best songs in its genre before disco became watered down and lost its funk roots. “Future Children, Future Hopes” and “Spaced Out” are instrumentals with extensive solos on the then newish Arp Odyssey. The Donald Byrd composed “The Baby” features sophisticated flute arrangements that show what he learned from his time working with Quincy Jones. Possibly the only weak track is the pop love song, “April Showers”, but even it can be endearing in its naïve saccharine sweetness. Any fan of 70s funk jazz, rare groove and the roots of acid jazz should own this one.

THE BLACKBYRDS Unfinished Business

Album · 1976 · Funk
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
The Blackbyrd’s music ranged from funk jazz to dance grooves for the disco, but in their hands such different styles sounded unified and almost identical due to the Byrd’s ultra smooth, yet relentless groove that drove every song they did. Sometimes referred to as a proto-disco band, the Byrd’s didn’t have the heavy thud of the later disco trend, but their subtle implied four on the floor beat could fill the dance floors in the mid-70s. The rhythm section of Joe Hall on bass with Keith Killgo on drums was poetry in motion that floated like a butterfly while laying a solid groove for the icing on the cake, Orville Saunders’ driving repetitive chicken scratch guitar parts that grab you and never let go. Make no mistake, “Unfinished Business” is music for the dance floor, but there are also plenty of great jazz solos from folks like Ernie Watts and Ray Parker for those who just want to listen.

There are a couple of standout cuts on here that may be of interest to the collector of exotic rare groove; “Enter In” features a lengthy solo on an old analog synth that struggles to stay in tune while fighting against an extra thick coating of reverb, nice kitsch value on that one, and album closer “Unfinished Business” is excellent instrumental funk jazz with a killer guitar riff backed by a pretty repeating melody on the vibraphone and topped with a funky sax solo. Probably the best cut on the album though is the opener “Time is Movin”, once again Saunders’ guitar riffing is the star and the rest of the band falls in step while keyboardist Kevin Tony plays a hot solo on the B3. Throwing a party? Get rid of those tired old hits and put this on instead, your guests will thank you.

THE BLACKBYRDS Movies Reviews

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