Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1098

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Donald Byrd & The Blackbyrds: The Jazz Funk Collection (Robinsongs)

Donald 1



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UK release date 15.05.2020

Donald Byrd's illustrious career can be dissected into two parts, firstly his success as a solo artist on Blue Note Records for which he made over twenty albums and secondly as an educator at Howard University.

It's here where he teamed up with his students to form Donald Byrd and The Blackbyrds and what a fortuitous moment that was! They managed to be at the forefront of the emerging style of Jazz Funk. The early to mid-'70s they really shone with fantastic tunes and anthems all compiled here.

It all kicks off with "Lansana’s Priestess" from the 1973 album “Street Lady” nearly eight minutes of pure Jazz Funk produced by the legendary Mizell Brothers. Followed by a slew of classic Donald Byrd tracks such as "Black Byrd", "Loves So Far Away" and "Flight Time" to name but a few. And who can forget "Walking In Rhythm" a brilliant and uplifting anthem which went on to sell one million copies, and was awarded a Gold Disc and was Grammy-nominated, the R&B hits kept on coming with "Rock Creek Park", "Time Is Movin’’ and the Top 3 R&B hit "Happy Music" which was written and produced by Byrd. The production throughout has a tight and snappy sound throughout and these organic grooves have never sounded better or matched frankly!

Byrd and co epitomised American jazz-funk and in my book, this is a faultless compilation filled with all sorts of goodies that is essential listening to any admirer of the genre. No wonder the hip-hop fraternity were all over this, sampling wise - it's easy to see why!
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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