Ethiopian Knights

Donald Byrd

Ethiopian Knights

1972

Fusion

Right from the stop-start bass groove that opens "The Emperor," it's immediately clear that Ethiopian Knights is more indebted to funk -- not just funky jazz, but the straight-up James Brown/Sly Stone variety -- than any previous Donald Byrd project. And, like a true funk band, Byrd and his group work the same driving, polyrhythmic grooves over and over, making rhythm the focal point of the music.

- Steve Huey

Action

The Blackbyrds

Action

September, 1977

Funk

If you had to own only one album by The Blackbyrds, Action should be it. All the elements came together for the Donald Byrd protégés on this scintillating certified gold album, which originally was issued in fall 1977. The sinewy Top 20 R&B hit "Supernatural Feeling" has bits of wisdom implanted in between its poppin' funk grooves. The enticing "Soft And Easy" slid into the R&B Top 20 with an ease that's equal to the gentle spoken seduction that is woven throughout this make out classic.

- Ed Hogan