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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 melodies.
It was in 1962 that Byrd's album Jazz Samba launched the bossa nova wave in North America on the strength of the memorable single "Desafinado." His fingerstyle approach to the acoustic nylon guitar has affected millions.
Originally released in 1995 as part of a larger Concord package, this session remains truly significant in the hearts of bossa nova lovers. The ensemble's interpretation of "No More Blues" captures its essence as Byrd and company rollick through the cool mist for nearly twelve minutes. The festival's magic spirit had an obvious effect. Solos from guitar, harmonica, piano and clarinet saunter leisurely over a hip rhythmic character that creates the album's high point. This is magical music from a faraway place that has now become ingrained in the culture of the world.
Track Listing: Favela; If You Never Come to Me; Desafinado; Once I Loved; Beyond the Horizon; Chega de Saudade; Watch What Happens.
Personnel: Charlie Byrd- guitar; Hendrik Meurkens- harmonica; Ken Peplowski- clarinet; Allen Farnham- piano; Bill Douglass- bass; Chuck Redd- drums; Michael Spiro- percussion.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.