Amazon.com Widgets

Recent Articles

UNSUNG HEROES

Laurindo Almeida, Charlie Byrd, and Ralph Towner

Read "Laurindo Almeida, Charlie Byrd, and Ralph Towner"

The concert guitar is hailed by many as the perfect instrument. After being perfected in the Baroque age, virtuosos believed the wooden torso to posses the variety of an orchestra. The concert guitar produces a wide range of tone, timber, color, and dynamic expression unlike any other stringed instrument, capable of projecting a delicate voice of pure emotion. As music enters the age of electrified sound, fewer players seem to have the audacity to unplug. But amongst a mass of music technicians, there exists a small sect of quiet practitioners who seek unadulterated acoustic purity. Undistorted tones. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Bamba Samba Bossa Nova

Read "Bamba Samba Bossa Nova" reviewed by

Charlie Byrd never really got his due as a jazz guitarist; most people see him as a pioneer in bossa nova and little else. Of course it doesn't help that many of his records were quiet affairs, lacking soul and preoccupied with applying classical technique to jazz chops. Many preferred to stick with Wes or Kenny rather than follow Byrd on his world music excursions.

However, Byrd really excelled in the area of presentation, reshaping South American folk songs into brilliantly orchestrated gems and crafting nifty little originals that worked quite well in the idiom. Even diehard Byrd ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Cal Tjader: Best of Concord Years / Sextet; Charlie Byrd: Homage to Jobim

Read "Cal Tjader: Best of Concord Years / Sextet; Charlie Byrd: Homage to Jobim"

Here are three sets of music by musicians associated under the expansive banner of Latin jazz. Stan Getz is usually credited with starting the fusion of Brazilian music, especially bossa nova. However, classically trained guitarist Charlie Byrd (and his sideman, perhaps most importantly the drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt) was among the first to go on a South American U.S. State Department tour, about a year before they put out their collaborative Jazz Samba. Vibraphonist Cal Tjader is arguably only known for his Latin jazz recordings but this great, underrated player also has roots in Dave Brubeck's and George Shearing's music.

Cal ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Homage to Jobim

Read "Homage to Jobim" reviewed by

Charlie Byrd was a genius. For this live session that opened the 26th annual Fujitsu-Concord Jazz Festival in 1994, the guitarist brought in harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens, clarinetist Ken Peplowski, and one of the finest rhythm sections around for his set. A tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim, the program features Byrd's musical partners in a sensual bossa nova excursion.

As Byrd weaves his melodic lines around Peplowski's clarinet expressions and Meurkens' lovely harmonica stories, you can feel the music's warm passion. The program surges ahead gently, with a delicate nature and a genuine, heartfelt interpretation of these classic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Byrd & Brazil

Read "Byrd & Brazil" reviewed by

Once again Concord Records has reissued two simpatico dates as a budget two-CD collection, this time two live sets by guitarist Charlie Byrd, originally issued as '80's Sugarloaf Suite and '82's Brazilville. Both sets are indicative of Byrd's lightweight and low-key approach to Brazilian music, which he discovered while in his mid-30s and dedicated much of his musical career to afterwards. Somewhat unique in that he worked in jazz ensembles using strictly a classical guitar, he went on to popularize such forms as the bossa nova and the samba, especially on his '62 collaboration with Stan Getz, the largely popular ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Solo Flight

Read "Solo Flight" reviewed by

Solo guitar albums can be a tricky affair; even the best of them, like Joe Pass’s Virtuoso occasionally flirt with tedium and seem to exhaust all possibilities relatively quickly. As a result, many guitarists tend to stay away from the demands of the format, preferring the company of at least one other sideman to share the spotlight.

Although many guitarists had tried a solo number here and there, Charlie Byrd was one of the first to devote an entire album to the format. Charlie Byrd’s Solo Flight comes at the end of his Riverside tenure, where he ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Solo Flight

Read "Solo Flight" reviewed by

Rarely in today’s global music marketplace does an artist successfully combine staggering talent with equally superlative success. There are those who manage one or the other, but only a select few achieve both. Guitarist Charlie Byrd was one such individual, though admittedly the playing field back during his prime was much more populous with publicly lauded and brilliantly accomplished musicians. His back-story reads like a string of serendipitous twists of good fortune and included fateful meetings with guitar icons Django Reinhardt and Andres Segovia.

Byrd hit the big time with the superior abilities to back it up. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Byrd Song

Read "Byrd Song" reviewed by

Eclectic is an adjective easily applied to Charlie Byrd. Over the course of his career the guitarist shaped a reputation as a genre-hopping virtuoso who crossed over into Latin, classical, country and popular music camps, while retaining his abiding affection for jazz. His preference for acoustic over-amplified strings also set him apart from his peers. Certain myopic critics saw his versatility as a symptom of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none syndrome. Byrd responded to his skeptics with album after album replete with exemplary technical skill. His choice of material, on the other hand, wasn’t always so ironclad. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Byrd Song

Read "Byrd Song" reviewed by

Byrd Song is a peculiar album, even from a man whose career was always hard to pigeonhole. Although not as well-known or perhaps as highly regarded as Wes Mongomery or Kenny Burrell, Byrd was an accomplished guitarist who fused classical technique and jazz licks on everything from standards to Brazilian folk music. On Byrd Song (recorded in 1965) he embellishes his guitar- bass-drums format with a choir that sings vocalese licks (a la Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross) in response to the melodies of the trio. It’s a compelling experiment that unfortunately wears thin after a few numbers. By the third ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros

Read "Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros" reviewed by

Few Americans approached bossa nova with the commitment and understanding of Charlie Byrd. His classically influenced, unamplified style was perfectly suited to the Brazilian music that quickly became his forte after the success of Jazz Samba, after which he never looked back. Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros is his finest hour, a record’s worth of bossa nova standards and originals that effectively sum up the essential tunes and everything captivating about Brazil’s finest musical export. The folksy, lilting charm and warm groove of bossa are perfectly captured through Byrd’s deft plucking; an inspired head to “Bim Bom” and a catchy intro ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Blues Sonata

Read "Blues Sonata" reviewed by

Mention the word “Bird" and Charlie Parker immediately comes to mind with Donald Byrd soon to follow. Charlie Byrd, on the other hand, is not an artist that immediately comes to mind. Byrd first made his mark with Stan Getz on Jazz Samba, a record which unfairly obscures his work as a solo artist. He has never been held in the same esteemed class as Wes Montgomery or Kenny Burrell, but his solo work was far more eccentric than either of those two and deserves wider recognition. Blues Sonata is as good a place as any to start. The first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: The Best of the Concord Years

Read "The Best of the Concord Years"

The late Charlie Byrd was one of those jazz figures whose choice of instrument alone made him stand out. His nylon-string guitar was ideally suited to the bossa nova idiom, in which he made his most famous historical contributions. This two-disc package captures Byrd a bit later in his career — specifically, the period from 1979 until his death in December 1999, during which he released 20 albums for Concord Records.These Concord highlights are remarkably varied, not only in terms of style but also in terms of instrumentation. A number of them feature Byrd and his regular trio ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Byrd's Word

Read "Byrd's Word"

A common critique leveled at Charlie Byrd throughout his career suggested that he was incapable of ‘letting his hair down’ so to speak. His guitar playing was of such consistently high caliber that many critics took his impeccable technique as a sign of pompousness and egotism. The reality is that Byrd was equally adept in a lofty concert hall or smoky jazz club and he viewed either environment as a fitting place to unveil his chops. Byrd’s Word is definitely cut directed at the former setting however, and finds Byrd paying tribute to the Showboat, a venerable D.C. nightspot that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Byrd: Byrd By the Sea

Read "Byrd By the Sea"

Charlie Byrd was that rarest of birds in the ornithology of music- one who could shape his plumage to fit into virtually any setting. Not content to rest on his laurels as a virtuoso jazz guitarist, Byrd was equally comfortable negotiating a tightly composed classical chart, sculpting a lilting Bossa Nova, strumming out a down-home blues or testing his nimble plectrum on a time-tested pop tune. The fact that he was fortunate enough to jam with guitar maestros as varied as Django Reinhardt and Andres Segovia added further to his mystique.

As Robert Gordon’s liner notes argue persuasively Byrd in ...



Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Community Members

Join our growing community of
writers, musicians, visual artists and advocates.

Join Us Today!

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.