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Greatest Hits

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Album Review

When Donald Byrd embraced soul and funk in the 1970s, some jazz players and critics didn't hesitate to lambast the trumpeter and label him a sellout. But while it's always sad to see a great improviser put his improvisatory skills on the back burner, the fact is that many of the Byrd's more commercially successful recordings were highly creative. Like Byrd's own '70s dates, the albums he produced for the Blackbyrds are best described as soul and funk with jazz overtones. Anyone who seriously followed the Black music scene of the mid-1970s has heard many of the songs on this CD, which range from the dreamy "Walking In Rhythm" to invigorating funk hits like "Happy Music," "Do It Fluid" and "Rock Creek Park" (a suggestive gem that many rappers have sampled). The jazz influence is especially strong on the instrumental "Gut Level" and the peaceful "Summer Love," which has slightly Pharoah Sanders-ish qualities. But it must be stressed that this band had more to offer from an R&B standpoint than a jazz standpoint. For lovers of '70s R&B, this is a collection to savor.

Customer Reviews


donald byrd started the 70 funk all his cuts have a mellow flow with a funky beat this is 70s music!

the truest funkiest,should 've been jazz band ever

these guys were the truth,the music contained here is from my high school years.the beauty is the way they played harmonized and just made you feel good is unreal to this day.anyone who has not heard this (younger,hip hop crowd)you will when you search for good music these guys were a tight outfit,but the flute playing is orgasmic....peace
Hector V.

Rock Creek Park

TCM. Totally Cool Music! Heard it on the radio the other day...Shazzamed, then iTuned it. Right now it is playing through the car speakers as I long for the '70s lifestyle, while snappin' my fingers sitten in L.A. traffic! I sooo love The Blackbyrds sound. Nothin' like it out there today. If there is an up-and- coming group out there looking to duplicate a sassy yet smooth sound, surely they couldn't go wrong duplicating The Blackbyrds. "Oh yeahh, in Rock Creek Park."


Formed: 1973 in Washington DC

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s

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...
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