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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more