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.


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Lubbock (on everything)" CD/LP/Track Review Lubbock (on everything)
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "The Lightning Bell" CD/LP/Track Review The Lightning Bell
by John Eyles
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Roots & Transitions" CD/LP/Track Review Roots & Transitions
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Mujo" CD/LP/Track Review Mujo
by John Sharpe
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "Pass It On" CD/LP/Track Review Pass It On
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!