* The Blackbyrds

Description:Donald Byrd – an important hard-bop trumpeter who was among the first to blow past the walls that by the early 1970s had risen between jazz and R&B – holds a particularly dear place in the heart of D.C.’s jazz community. He was the founding director of Howard University’s jazz program, and inspired a group of students to start a jazz-funk band called the Blackbyrds (named after his famed 1973 fusion album, “Black Byrd”). The Blackbyrds found commercial success in the mid-’70s, releasing a string of records on the Fantasy label and scoring a big hit with the song “Walking in Rhythm.”

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Giovanni Russonello

About Giovanni Russonello

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Giovanni is the founder of CapitalBop, and a music critic for the New York Times. He previously served as a contributor to the Washington Post, the FADER, JazzTimes, NPR Music and others, and hosted “On the Margin,” a books show on WPFW-FM. As head of CapitalBop, he has covered the D.C. jazz scene since 2010. (He is no longer directly involved in the presenting of CapitalBop's concerts.) He graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in history, with a focus on African-American history. Reach Giovanni at editor@capitalbop.com. Read him at giovannirussonello.com or nytimes.com/by/giovanni-russonello. Follow him on Twitter at @giorussonello.