Within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, the D.C. music scene was coming into its personal with well-liked radio publicity. Main the pack had been the Blackbyrds. With a lot of their historical past tied to the District, the Blackbyrds will rejoice their 50th anniversary with a July 7 live performance on the historic Howard Theatre in Northwest D.C.
Shaped in 1973 with college students at Howard College, the group was guided by their music professor, the late nice jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd. The group’s identify was tailored from Byrd’s 1973 Blue Observe album titled “Black Byrd.”
Earlier than coming to Howard College as a music professor, Byrd’s profession had him taking part in trumpet with different jazz luminaries like Artwork Blakey, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk. He introduced that jazz expertise to Howard, however he sought one thing completely different. That’s what impressed the formation of the Blackbyrds.
“Byrd remembered when jazz hit the large time, everyone was dancing,” mentioned Joe Corridor, the unique bassist and nonetheless a member of the Blackbyrds. “So, he wished to deliver the toes again.
Drummer Keith Killgo and Corridor are the one two unique members of the present lineup of the Blackbyrds. Additionally within the present group are Roberto Villeda on keyboards, Sean Anthony on percussion, Charles Wright on guitar, Marshall Keys on saxophone, Thad Wilson on trumpet, and vocalist Paul Spires.
Since their begin, the group has loved many hit information on each pop and R&B charts. They nonetheless tour in America and different international locations. In 1974, “Do It Fluid,” was the primary hit for the Blackbyrds, adopted by “Strolling in Rhythm” in 1975. After a string of different hits, it was not till 1976 that the music “Rock Creek Park” hit the charts and native Washingtonians knew all of the phrases. There may be an fascinating aspect notice to that music.
“It turned too acquainted, so it was like, by no means thoughts, within the D.C. space,” mentioned Killgo. “However each place we play ‘Rock Creek Park,’ that metropolis will substitute the identify with their well-known park.”
Corridor mentioned the primary time they went to London, the followers knew all of the lyrics. They had been ready exterior the dressing room, they usually knew the names of the band members. Right this moment, crowds in different international locations nonetheless come out to benefit from the music of the Blackbyrds.
“It’s been that approach ever since. They actually love American bands,” mentioned Corridor.
Killgo, a D.C. schoolteacher, displays on the significance of the anniversary.
“Probably the most spectacular half is that it’s 50 years of bettering on what we began,” mentioned Killgo. “We’re taking part in lots higher now than we did again then, and now we have had so many contributors alongside the best way.
The Blackbyrds 50th Anniversary Live performance is on July 7 on the Howard Theatre. What is bound to be a high-energy occasion, the band will carry out their hottest songs, and in dedication to Donald Byrd, they may also carry out a number of of his songs, together with “Black Byrd,” “Flight Time” and “(Fallin’ Like) Dominoes.”
Tickets could be bought at www.thehowardtheatre.com. Comply with the Blackbyrds on their web site www.blackbyrdsmusic.com and on social media @realblackbyrds.