The Blackbyrds

Flying Start

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For their second album, Flying Start, the Blackbyrds whipped up yet another healthy menu of proto-disco music. Complete with crispy drum breaks, relentless basslines, chicken-scratch guitar, majestic horns, and meandering clavinet, their dance-oriented brand of funky jazz is captured at its finest on tracks such as "The Baby," "Blackbyrds' Theme," and "Spaced Out." Meanwhile, breezier songs such as "Love Is Love," "Walking in Rhythm," and "April Showers" express the more melodic side of the Blackbyrds' repertoire. Produced by Howard University professor and jazz legend Donald Byrd, the album represents an accessible rather than experimental version of jazz fusion, a style that later became wholly embraced by proponents of hip-hop culture.

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