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Charlie Byrd: For Louis

Jim Santella By

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Recorded only months before he passed away last year, Charlie Byrd’s final recording project was a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Joe Wilder sits in to represent the lyrical side of Armstrong’s sound, holding on to the natural phrasing that has influenced nearly every jazz trumpeter since. Byrd’s nylon string classical acoustic guitar and Wilder’s mellow tone blend perfectly alongside a veteran piano trio.

Saxophonist Steve Wilson starts off the session with a soprano saxophone characterization of Sidney Bechet on "Petite Fleur." Since the tribute is for Louis Armstrong, melody takes center stage throughout. Byrd was in fine form for this session. Like Armstrong, he never considered retirement seriously. The guitarist introduces two bossa nova arrangements with "Indian Summer" and "Struttin’ With Some Barbecue." Somehow, the change from tradition seems to fit perfectly. Recommended, Byrd’s final project offers homage to two very fine gentlemen.


Title: For Louis | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Magneoton


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