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The Blackbyrds are an American R&B/jazz-funk fusion group from Washington, DC. The group was inspired by trumpet player Donald Byrd and featured Howard University students Kevin Toney (keyboards), Keith Kilgo (vocals, drums), Joe Hall (bass guitar), Allan Barnes (saxophone, clarinet) and Barney Perry (guitar). Orville Saunders (guitar) and Jay Jones (flute, saxophone) joined later. In 1973, the band signed with Fantasy Records. They released eight albums on Fantasy between 1974 to 1980. They charted with such hits as “Walking In Rhythm”, “Rock Creek Park” and “Happy Music.” They released the albums “The Blackbyrds” (1974), “Flying Start” (1974), “City Life” (1975), “Cornbread, Earl And Me: Motion Picture Soundtrack” (1975), “Unfinished Business”(1976), “Action” (1977), “Better Days” (1980) and “Gotta Fly” (2012). Founding member Allen Barnes died on July 25. 2016, at age 66.

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