Blackbyrd McKnight encompasses many styles of music to make up what he calls “Progressive Funk-Rock”.
Blackbyrd was grooved in the cradle by his father’s broad collection of jazz recordings as an infant, brainwashed by Jimi Hendrix in his teens, entered the University of Funk in his twenties, and has never stopped evolving and rocking people ever since. In the early stages of his career, Blackbyrd mainly worked with Jazz musicians, such as Charles Lloyd, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters, and more. He then redirected his path towards funk when he joined the P-Funk Camp in 1978 and has been funkin people up. He was the musical director of George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic from 1980 to 2008. Other than working with P-Funk artists such as George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and Bernie Worrell, Blackbyrd has also worked with Miles Davis, Shuggie Otis, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ron Wood & Bernard Fowler of the Rolling Stones, Bill Laswell, HR of Bad Brains, Macy Gray, Fishbone, Melvin Gibbs and Wyzard of Mothers Finest to name but a few.
Blackbyrd started his solo career in New York with Will Calhoun, Melvin Gibbs and Ronny Drayton at Knitting Factory in September 2007. In 2008, he co-founded the new supergroup “SociaLybrium” with world known keyboard player Bernie Worrell. The band toured in US and Europe, and created an album “For You, For Us, For All”. Blackbyrd is now appearing on stage with The Miles Electric Band, an all-star cast of musicians who have previously worked with Miles Davis, to carry the torch of Davis’ electric period to the next generations. You also might want to check occasional appearances with Shuggie Otis who is a big influence on Blackbyrd from his teens to present.
Blackbyrd dropped his long awaited first solo album “’Bout Funkin’ Time” in November 2009. This album is packed with Blackbyrd’s musical talents not only as a guitarist but also as a songwriter, arranger, producer, and multi-instrumentalist.
Blackbyrd spreads his wings and flies to anywhere his artistic inspiration calls.