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Nate Najar with the John Toomey Trio at Attucks Theatre

Mark Robbins By

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In 1961, under the sponsorship of the U.S. State Department, jazz/classical guitarist Charlie Byrd toured South America. This trip proved to be fortuitous for both Byrd and North America for it introduced Byrd to the Brazilian Bossa Nova. Back in the states Byrd played Bossa Nova tapes for Stan Getz who then convinced producer Creed Taylor to record an album of himself and Byrd playing this new musical stlye. That album, Jazz Samba was released in 1962 and introduced North America to the Bossa Nova. It stayed on the charts for 70 weeks with Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Desafinado" being the most popular song on the album.

Byrd continued playing and recording Bossa Nova with various guitarists including Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel who formed the "Great Guitars." If Nate Najar had been born a few years earlier he no doubt would have been part of this esteemed group. Luckily for an enthusiastic audience (sold out) Najar brought his impeccable playing to the Attucks Theatre with a mixed bag of American standards, Bossa Nova, Gypsy Jazz and material from his beautiful new album Under Paris Skies.

Najar segued easily from genre to genre, from Jobim to recently deceased Michel Legrand talking a little about each song before performing. His unique style of playing jazz on a classical guitar gave his tone a warmer feeling and brought the listener in for a more intimate feeling. The Attucks audience is fortunate to have as the backbone to all the performances at this historic landmark John Toomey on piano and Jimmy Masters on bass. These are two of the best musicians working today and make a trio sound like they've been playing together for years instead of just meeting four hours before showtime. On drums that night was Rich Mossman whose subtle brush and stick work were a perfect compliment for an acoustic session.
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