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Laurindo Almeida, Charlie Byrd, and Ralph Towner

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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. ...



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