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.)
This single-CD reissue pairs two blaxploitation soundtracks by different artists: 1975's Cornbread, Earl and Me, composed by Donald Byrd and performed by the Blackbyrds, and 1973's The Dynamite Brothers, composed and performed by Charles Earland. Cornbread, Earl and Me, which featured the movie debut of Larry Fishburne, is serviceable, routine soul-jazz background film music, varying between funk-jazz-rock vamps (such as the Sly Stone-styled instrumental workout "The One-Eye Two-Step"), snazzy jazzy bits for action scenes, and sentimental orchestrated interludes. There are also occasional vocal numbers in a pedestrian mid-'70s soul-jazz-rock mode, such as "The Cornbread Theme."
Flying Start is the second album by the American rhythm and blues and jazz-funk fusion group The Blackbyrds.
The Blackbyrds is the debut album by the American rhythm and blues and jazz-funk fusion group The Blackbyrds. Produced by Larry Mizell and Donald Byrd with production supervision by Orrin Keepnews.
On the fourth and final installment of the Perfect Beats series, there are plenty of meat-and-potatoes electro hits (like C-Bank's "One More Shot" and Afrika Bambaataa's "Looking for the Perfect Beat"), but there are also lots of oddities to add flavor.
I think we’ve said it before, but we have no hesitation in saying it again – Pleasure are one of the finest bands to come out of the world of mid-70s R&B. As such it is an honour for us to be working our way through their catalogue as part of BGP’s Funk & Jazz Classics Series. This time our journey has reached the group’s fourth album for the Fantasy label, “Get To The Feeling”. This should have been the LP where they crossed-over and made them famous with similar chart success to that of their fellow jazz-influenced funk outfits such as the Blackbyrds and perhaps even more relevantly, Earth Wind & Fire.