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Charlie Byrd: My Inspiration

Jim Santella By

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Born 1925 in Virginia, guitarist Charlie Byrd started his professional career shortly after World War II touring with jazz bands such as that of saxophonist Joe Marsala. In his early twenties, the guitarist learned the ropes while on the road from Chicago to New York and Washington, D.C. He later studied guitar with Andrés Segovia and learned to incorporate classical features into his jazz performance. After working on a South American tour for the U.S. State Department, Byrd helped introduce the Brazilian bossa nova sound to a wider audience. In 1962, he participated on Stan Getz’s first bossa nova album; the dye was cast.

Nappy Lamare and bassist Bob Haggart, who passed away last month at the age of 84, wrote the title song, "My Inspiration." Byrd’s session combines the jazz music with which he began his professional career, classical ideas, and relaxed Latin moods. Chuck Redd’s vibraphone and Scott Hamilton’s tenor saxophone lend a distinctive timbre. Hamilton, who appears on seven tracks, plays it smooth and in firm control. Redd’s vibes place a curtain of sound around the music that one can readily identify as smooth – without rough edges – but quite interesting. For his first album to include a vocalist, Byrd has selected sensitive singer Maucha Adnet, who lends her lyric delivery to five tracks. Her brother Mario wrote "Desafinada" as a tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim; she sings it in Portuguese. Romero Lubambo, who fills the rhythm guitarist’s role, offers a stirring jazz solo on "Agua De Beber," a classical guitar spotlight on "Esperança Perdida," and trades fours with Byrd on ! "Violão Quebrada."

The leader plays it light and gentle, offering a session suited for lovers of acoustic guitar music and gentle breezes. Quite natural, the sounds fall pleasantly on the ear. Byrd improvises at length on "Do Dia Pra Noite" as Adnet and Redd provide a vamp. "Freddie’s Tune" is Chopin’s "Prelude in E Minor, Opus 28, Number 4" presented in a bossa context. There are no hard edges, and everything fits like a soft calfskin glove. Recommended.

Track Listing: Meninha Flor; Desafinada; My Inspiration; Fofograf

Personnel: Charlie Byrd, Romero Lubambo- acoustic guitar; Chuck Redd- vibraphone; Nilson Matta- acoustic bass; Duduka da Fonseca- drums; Maucha Adnet- vocals; Scott Hamilton- tenor saxophone.

| Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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