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Blackbyrd

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 18, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

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Dr. Donald Byrd's deeply rooted jazz background never stopped him from constantly pushing jazz forward, opening the minds of his listeners in the process. Produced by Larry Mizell in 1973, Black Byrd is filled with beautiful music that captures his passion for sound. The sophisticated, uptempo instrumentals are funky and danceable, but also extremely smooth. Byrd's impeccable trumpet meshes perfectly with the African-influenced beats and rhythms. Jazz purists may want to look into earlier Blue Note recordings such as Royal Flush and Byrd in Flight. --Shane Hunt
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 18, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: 1973
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000005HDT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,091 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
While Miles Davis was making dark, brooding, introspective electric jazz,(which I love with all my heart,) Donald Byrd decided to investigate the other end of the spectrum.

This music is light and joyous funk, with tight vocal arrngements and a fantastic session band. Byrd took the same vocal ideas he used on New Perspective, and applied them to Sly Stone grooves. This coctail resulted in sleek but subtinative music. Sweet, fat licks that you bite into like a chocolate cherry. Commercial? Yes. Top 40 material, absolutely. Right up there on 70s radio with Barry White and Steely Dan. Not bad company, right?

Music you can listen to any time of day. Perfect.
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Format: Audio CD
As far back as the mid 1950's musicians such as Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers became intent on bringing jazz back to the African American community. In their time they by and large succeeded. Blues and gospel eventually began to lead into whole new styles of music such as R&B and soul as the 60's came in. Those in jazz who took to the new musics in some way did very well. Such as those who innovated in the soul jazz movement. By the time the 70's rolled around Donald Byrd was not only still an active musician but also an important music educator at Howard University where he'd soon put together a group known as the Blackbyrds,probably based on the title of this album. Recorded in 1972 but released the following year this recording found Byrd under the realization of the changes in the broader taste of the African American public by this point. Especially those bought on by the advent of Motown. This began his association with the Mizell brothers Fonce and Larry along with members of The Crusader-all of whom had played and written for different Motown acts. In particular The Jackson 5. So that influence was important to what happened here.

Now this album is not merely some heavy polyrhythmic jazz-funk exercise. This music is heavily based in pop/R&B. That means that melody,verses and choruses are a huge part this music almost more so than jazz soloing. The first two songs are in the the eight minute range. But with the advent of cinematic soul that had value too. "Flight Time" continues to build throughout the song never really arriving at anything. But that's the whole point. It stays on this terrific major key melody from beginning to end. The title song has a heftier groove with the use of moog synthesizer adding much of the weight.
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Format: Vinyl
i've always dug me some Donald Byrd and his approach to Groove and arrangements will keep your head bopping non stop and this album was one of those albums where his trademark playing and his fusion of Jazz/funk is something that will keep your ear steady. i bought this album on disc about a decade and change ago and i have what i call the DOnald Byrd section of my music collection and stay on the Grooves. real solid and full of Snap and Funk on here.
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Format: Audio CD
Donald Byrd - Blackbyrd

Although he has a ton of albums that I adore, Donald Byrd's masterpiece I think was Blackbyrd! Surprisingly this album did not follow in the footsteps of "KOFI" which was more representative of Miles Davis stuff like "Bitches Brew" and "On The Corner".

In sharp contrast Byrd broke out the R&B grooves teaming up with Fonce Mizell to record this groundbreaking album making this the best selling Blue Note album of its time!

For Donald Byrd this album set him on his way and he would go on to make a few more groovy funk jazz album that would build on this work. Stylistically this album is a mix of R&B, Funk, 70's pop and jazz elements all swirled together into a cohesive album that a true toe tapper. The end result was a danceable album that was lighter and easier to listen to than many of his contemporaries. In many ways this is almost a pre-cursor to the Disco era! ....almost.

Oh yeah and there is some vocals on this recording but used mostly as a sound vs the whole lyrics thing...which I think gives it that 70's feel to the the album.

Byrd handed over all the song writing to Mizell and he just stuck to helping bring out the true nature of these songs. Byrd is assisted musically by some pretty good musicians including Roger Glenn (flutes), Joe Sample (keys), Fref Perren (keys), Dean Parks (guitar), Wilton Felder (bass), Harvey mason (drums), Bobye Porter Hall (Percussion) and Larry Mizell (vocals).

Fans of FUNK will love this album very much with songs like "Slop Jar Blues" and "Flight TIme" with its groovy bass lines.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have this on a album but wanted it on a CD . What's not to love about Donald Byrd and the BlackByrds. As always Amazon select is great . The delivery is fast , returns no problem and the price is right .
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Used LP is in great condition and shows the early Black Byrd acid jazz ensemble playing very expertly for their teacher Donald Byrd. A classic analog version of the original jazz funk landmark album. Indispensable for a serious collector of Donald Byrd or the BlackByrds..
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Format: Audio CD
....but not there yet. I prefer the deep funk of Byrd's "Ethiopian Knights", but "BlackByrd" has grown on me considerably. On my first listen I was taken by surprise because I wanted more "Little Rasti" and I put this away for a long time. I've been listening to it now for a few weeks straight and it's laid back summertime groove has consumed my soul. "Street Lady" has the same vibe, so I picked it up to, but I will have to stop there and dig on all the great Byrd I have. It seems after Street Lady the music got really really light and fluffy. Snore...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Go get "Fancy free", "Electric Byrd", "Ethiopian Knights", "BlackByrd" & "Street Lady" and you will have the funkiest of Donald Byrd and the best in my opinion.
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