Sunday, 23 December 2012

Do It Fluid: The Blackbyrds

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)


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: San Andreas.

Albums:
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, Remixes)

Better Days (Fantasy 1980) 



''Night Grooves'' 
(Fantasy, 1978)

A great album of funky dancefloor tunes!Originally issued in 1978, and clearly for the New York dancefloor crowd, the record takes the earlier work of funk group The Blackbyrds, and remixes the tracks slightly to pump up the groove a bit for the dancers.
While the approach might not sound good on paper, it actually works wonderfully on the record, as the tunes retain all of the jazz funk feel of the originals, without any of the cheap tricks you might expect.
The album’s as essential as any of the group’s earlier albums, and it’s filled with great versions of classics like Supernatural Feeling, Gut Level, Walking In Rhythm, Do It Fluid, Rock Creek Park, and Happy Music.


''Soulful Source''
Biography:
The Blackbyrds were a jazz-funk group with thick R&B streaks running down their backs. Assembled by Donald Byrd in 1974, the group’s original members — percussionist Pericles “Perk” Jacobs, Jr., drummer Keith Killgo, keyboardist Kevin Toney, reeds player Allan Barnes, bassist Joe Hall, guitarist Barney Perry — were mined from Howard University’s music department, where the doctor and jazz legend was an instructor. (Other key players included guitarist Orville Saunders and saxophonist/flautist Steve Johnson.) During the Blackbyrds’ nearly decade-long existence, the group cut a handful of LPs (1973’s The Blackbyrds, 1974’s Flying Start, 1975’s City Life, 1976’s Unfinished Business, 1977’s Action, 1980’s Better Days); scored films (1975’s Cornbread, Earl and Me); and supported artists like B.B. King, Mandrill, and Roberta Flack. “Walking in Rhythm,” “Rock Creek Park,” and “Happy Music” are their three best-known cuts; they have remained underground club classics, and they have been kept alive, in part, through sampling. The group’s catalog has been overhauled and reissued a number of times; multiple best-ofs have been released (Fantasy’s Greatest Hits is the strongest and most thorough), and most of the group’s full-length output has been put out on CD through two-fers. As far as outside activities were considered, Barney Perry released a solo album under the name Blair in 1978 (through his own Solar Sound imprint). The remaining members’ involvements are far too extensive to list.
By Andy Kellman (AMG)

More info & discography on Discogs.
Original post: Thursday, 27 August 2009

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