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: 09/26/1994
Label: Beat Goes Public Bgp
UPC: 0029667278928
catalogNumber: 89
Rank: 37981

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blackbyrds   Primary Artist,Vocals
Kevin Toney   Keyboards
Wade Marcus   Conductor
Charlie Barnett   Vocals
Alex Brown   Vocals
Chuck Findley   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Jim Gilstrap   Vocals
Gary Grant   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
William Green   Flute,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jackie Kelso   Flute,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Mildred Lane   Vocals,Soloist
John Lehman   Vocals
Charles Loper   Trombone
Steve Madaio   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Myrna Matthews   Vocals
Marti McCall   Vocals
Lew McCreary   Bass Trombone
Tommy Morgan   Harmonica,Soloist
Ray Parker   Guitar,Soloist
Marilyn Robinson   French Horn
Orville Saunders   Guitar
Ernie Watts   Flute,Soloist
Kenny Moore   Vocals
Stephen Johnson   Flute,Saxophone
George Bohanon   Trombone
Wesley Jackson   Flute,Saxophone
Keith Killgo   Drums
Vince Derosa   French Horn
Jerry Spikes   Vocals
Nolan Smith   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Block Boy Orchestra   Flute,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Bill Medford   Vocals
Joe Hall   Bass
Alan Robinson   French Horn

Technical Credits

Kevin Toney   Composer
Wade Marcus   Arranger,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Donald Byrd   Composer,Producer
Val Garay   Engineer
David Hassinger   Engineer
Fonce Mizell   Composer
Larry Mizell   Composer
Jim Nipar   Engineer,Remixing
Orville Saunders   Composer
Phil Carroll   Art Direction
Joseph Hall   Composer
Stephen Johnson   Composer
Keith Killgo   Composer
Serge Reyes   Engineer
Stewart Daniels   Cover Art
Joe Hall   Composer

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