163

The Charlie Byrd Trio: Au Courant

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Au Courant indeed! Here's Charlie Byrd playing W.C. Handy, Rodgers and Hart, Jobim, Johnny Mercer, and, for goodness' sake, Henry Mancini with nothing but an acoustic guitar, his brother Joe's upright bass, and Chuck Redd's vibraphone! Does it work? Does it work! These are highly familiar songs played in a quiet, intimate setting that illustrates with peculiar and intoxicating vividness why these guys' songs have lasted this long. The no-voltage setting turns one's attention to the melodies, revealing aspects of them that may have been obscured before by the pizzazz of the presentation: "St. Louis Blues"'s tango feel, for one. We also have Rodgers and Hart's "This Can't Be Love" played with Doc Watsonian finger-picking fervor. We have "On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)" light and danceable. "There'll Be Some Changes Made" bouncy and ragtimy.

Charlie Byrd will be 73 in 1998, and he's pretty set in his ways. The same criticisms that have been leveled against some of his earlier albums can be set against Au Courant as well: no adventure, no chances, no unexpected choices of material, no lack of high-gloss in the production. All that may be true, but Au Courant is particularly valuable for the stripped-down presentations-it's fresh, enlightening, and entertaining.

Other tracks include Jobim's "If You Never Came to Me," R & H's "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "Blue Room," "Have You Met Miss Jones?" and "There's a Small Hotel," "Emily" by Mercer, "Days of Wine and Roses" by Mancini, and "Avalon" and "Willow Weep for Me." With but minor changes this could have been recorded in 1967 instead of 1997, but only on a nice day.


Track Listing: This Can't Be Love; My Romance; St. Louis Blues; On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever); There'll Be Some Changes Made; If You Never Came To Me; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Avalon; Emily; There's A Small Hotel; Blue Room; Have You Met Miss Jones?; Willow Weep For Me; Days of Wine and Roses.

Title: Au Courant | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Lucille" CD/LP/Track Review Lucille
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Wish You Were Here" CD/LP/Track Review Wish You Were Here
by Jim Olin
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.