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The Blackbyrds

About this Artist

The Blackbyrds were formed in 1973 as part of the legendary jazz trumpeter Dr. Donald Byrd’s brainchild to expose college students to the real world of music. The Blackbyrds's current lineup of musicians consists of original members Keith Killgo and Joe Hall.

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.