The Blackbyrds are a US RnB and jazz-funk fusion group, formed in Washington DC in 1973 and reformed in 2012 by Keith Killgo. The group was inspired by legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd and featured some of his Howard University students; Kevin Toney (keys), Keith Killgo (vocals, drums), Joe Hall (bass guitar), Allan Barnes (sax/clarinet) and Barney Perry and Orville Saunders (guitar). Jay Jones (flute / sax) joined later and on “Rock Creek Park” and “Happy Music”, Merry Clayton joined them on vocals. Their 1975 hit “Walking in Rhythm” received a Grammy nomination and sold over one million copies.
The Blackbyrds have been a huge influence on the hip-hop generation, with Gangstarr, Da Lench Mob and Full Force sampling their music. Rock Creek Park has been sampled numerous times by groups and artists such as De La Soul, Eric B and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, NWA, Massive Attack, Ice Cube, Nas and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
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