City Life/Unfinished Business

City Life/Unfinished Business

by The BlackbyrdsThe Blackbyrds


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This reissue combines two of the Blackbyrds' classic albums, City Life from 1975 and Unfinished Business from 1976, on a single 74-minute CD. To be sure, "classic" isn't a word that many jazz purists have used to describe the albums -- when Donald Byrd produced them, bop's hard-liners were denouncing the Clifford Brown-influenced trumpeter as a shameless sellout and insisting that he should have stuck to straight-ahead acoustic jazz. But then, the Blackbyrds weren't going after jazz purists -- their music was soul, funk, and disco with jazz overtones, and the people who bought their albums were more likely to be into Earth, Wind & Fire and Tower of Power than Sonny Stitt or Art Blakey. Unlike Stevie Wonder, Gil Scott-Heron, Marvin Gaye, the O'Jays, and Curtis Mayfield, the Blackbyrds didn't get into a lot of heavy sociopolitical messages; their forte was party music, and it is that escapist, feel-good mindset that defines the infectious hits "Happy Music" and "Rock Creek Park" (both from City Life) as well as memorable album tracks such as the mellow "Love So Fine" from City Life and the insistently funky "Party Land" from Unfinished Business. Calling this music escapist isn't saying that it's faceless or mechanical -- far from it. The Blackbyrds' party-time lyrics may not have been challenging, but musically, the band was creative, risk-taking, and distinctive. Even though they were primarily a soul/funk/disco outfit, the Blackbyrds came from jazz backgrounds -- and that jazz influence often works to their creative advantage on this excellent reissue.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/24/1999
Label: Fantasy
UPC: 0025218245128
catalogNumber: 24751

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blackbyrds   Primary Artist
Kevin Toney   Keyboards
Charlie Barnett   Vocals
Chuck Findley   Trumpet
Jim Gilstrap   Vocals
Gary Grant   Trumpet
William Green   Flute,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jackie Kelso   Flute,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Mildred Lane   Vocals
John Lehman   Vocals
Charles Loper   Trombone
Steve Madaio   Trumpet
Myrna Matthews   Vocals
Marti McCall   Vocals
Lew McCreary   Bass Trombone
Tommy Morgan   Harmonica
Ray Parker   Guitar
Marilyn Robinson   French Horn
Orville Sanders   Guitar
Nolan Andrew Smith   Trumpet
Ernie Watts   Flute
Vincent DeRosa   French Horn
Kenny Moore   Vocals
George Bohanon   Trombone
Wesley Jackson   Flute,Saxophone
Keith Killgo   Drums
Alan Robinson   French Horn

Technical Credits

Dave Edmunds   Composer
Kevin Toney   Composer
Wade Marcus   Arranger
Billy Bremner   Composer
Donald Byrd   Producer
Chuck Findley   Arranger
Val Garay   Engineer
Gary Grant   Arranger
David Hassinger   Engineer,Remixing
Nick Lowe   Composer
Steve Madaio   Arranger
Jim Nipar   Engineer,Remixing
Orville Saunders   Composer
Nolan Andrew Smith   Arranger
Terry Williams   Composer
Larry Kelp   Liner Notes
Stephen Johnson   Contributor
Keith Killgo   Composer

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