IN THE TRUNK: “Mysterious Vibes” by The Blackbyrds (Audio)

The Blackbyrds "Action" Album CoverThis piece was created with legendary Jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd, who lead The Blackbyrds.  The group members included Kevin Toney – keyboards; Keith Killgo – vocals and drums; Joe Hall – bass guitar; Allan Barnes – saxophone, clarinet; Barney Perry – guitar; Orville Saunders – guitar; and Jay Jones – flute and saxophone. In this song and the entire LP, what you hear is harmony, melody, unison, and cadence in their arrangements. All elements sounded great together. Harmony and cohesiveness with just the right combination of individual solo’s. The LP makes you want to rewind it because there is so much funk inside the structure to hear! Not an easy feat to achieve in any musical discipline.

What was dope about this group, was that it not only was formed by Donald Byrd but also comprised of his best students from Howard University in Washington DC, a historic Black College from 1973 to 1989. Some of the band’s original members had vibrant solo careers as well, such as Kevin Toney who started recording solo records in 1982 and is still recording and performing today.

The first Hip Hop dudes I heard incorporate “Mysterious Vibes” into their sound, were San Francisco based MC Paris, on his track “The Days of Old” from the 1992 LP Sleeping with the Enemy, and then New York rapper, New York based MC Kurious on “I’m Kurious” off the 1994 LP A Constipated Monkey. There have been others who have sampled this record in particular, but these are two of my favorite joints. “Rock Creek Park” is another funky joint from The Blackbyrds worth listening to. Again, admired by Hip Hop heads from Long Island to Compton. Tune in for the next slapper (song) from inside the trunk.

“Mysterious Vibes” by on Action by The Blackbyrds

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Parent, illustrator, author, owner of Come Bien Books, muralist, activist, and self-proclaimed believer in the power of music and its infinite sonic vibrations. Follow him @RobertTres