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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Legendary Group: The Blackbyrds


The original Blackbyrds were formed in 1973 by jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd.

The line up consisted of:

Allan Curtis Barnes (b.1949, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.) (reeds)

Barney Perry (b.1953, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.) (guitar)

Kevin Kraig Toney (b.1953 Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.) (keyboards)

Joseph Hall, III (b.1954, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.) (bass)

Pericles Jacobs, Jr. (b.1951, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.) (percussion)

and Keith Killgo (b.1954, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.) (drums)

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Initially amalgamating while studying music, The Blackbyrds were originally the brainchild of jazz trumpeter supreme Donald Byrd. When, during his days as a music master at Washington`s Howard University, he decided to take the cream of the musicians under his guidance and turn them into a band (hence the name “Blackbyrds”!). While Byrd first intended the band to merely support him in concert, it wasn`t long before he shrewdly began to see the major potential of a young, sharp-looking group playing funky jazz, and eventually signed them to Fantasy Records - as a group in their own right - in 1973. With the outfit`s self-titled 1974 debut album immediately attaining Gold status in America (pioneered by the disco-flavoured funker 'Do It Fluid'), The Blackbyrds arguably reached their successful peak in 1975 with two further big-selling albums - 'Flying Start' (featuring the aforementioned 'Walking In Rhythm') and 'City Life' (which in turn spawned the soul-funk classic 'Rock Creek Park').

With the seven consistently-successful studio albums they released on Fantasy from 1974 to 1980 all boasting a classy blend of jazz, soul, Latin and funk, The Blackbyrds would become a major inspiration to late Seventies/early Eighties British jazz-funk acts like Light Of the World and Hi-Tension. While, with the likes of Gang Starr, Da Lench Mobb and Full Force sampling their music, they have also - more recently - made a significant impact on today`s hip hop generation.








Discography:

The Blackbyrds (Fantasy 1974)
Flying Start (Fantasy 1974)
Cornbread, Earl And Me (Fantasy 1975)
City Life (Fantasy 1975)
Unfinished Business (Fantasy 1976)
Action (Fantasy 1977)
Night Grooves (Fantasy 1978)
Better Days (Fantasy 1980)

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