All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

259

Charlie Byrd: Solo Flight

David Rickert By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Charlie Byrd: Solo Flight Solo guitar albums can be a tricky affair; even the best of them, like Joe Pass’s Virtuoso occasionally flirt with tedium and seem to exhaust all possibilities relatively quickly. As a result, many guitarists tend to stay away from the demands of the format, preferring the company of at least one other sideman to share the spotlight.

Although many guitarists had tried a solo number here and there, Charlie Byrd was one of the first to devote an entire album to the format. Charlie Byrd’s Solo Flight comes at the end of his Riverside tenure, where he had tinkered with just about every other setting possible, and usually his recordings featured a solo composition or two even then. As a student of Segovia, he was well equipped for the demands of solo readings, and his classical background comes to the forefront on relatively brief run-throughs of material that Byrd had visited on previous recordings.

He virtually strolls through the tunes with his hands in his pockets, and as a result the music doesn’t sound improvised on the spot (a la Joe Pass) but instead seems crafted and rehearsed beforehand (as indeed they may have been). Thus Byrd seems to be playing etudes rather than standards, and we don’t get the sense of an artist exploring new avenues, but rather enjoying the comfort of well-worn paths. Byrd’s crisp articulation and classical influence are present throughout, yet a high degree of sameness in approach makes each tune interchangeable and indistinct. The same licks and fills pervade each song, which are all take at the same relaxed tempo, and the color and variety that other musicians would bring is missed.

It’s too bad – and quite surprising – that Byrd doesn’t avail himself of any of the bossa nova compositions with which he made his name, for that would have been a welcome change of pace. Rather, Byrd turns in modest, polite reading of these tunes, and perhaps this was his goal all along – a consistently satisfying collection that doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Suitable for pleasant background music certainly, but there’s not much to dig for otherwise.

Riverside on the web: www.fantasyjazz.com


Track Listing: 1. Am I Blue 2. Easy Living 3. House Of the Rising Sun 4. Mood Indigo 5. You Took Advantage Of Me 6. Lil' Darlin 7. Tears 8. Nocturne 9. Satin Doll 10. Blue Mobile 11. Sweet Sue (Just You).

Personnel: Charlie Byrd-guitar.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Homage To Jobim
Homage To Jobim
Concord Music Group
2005
buy
Bamba Samba Bossa Nova
Bamba Samba Bossa Nova
Empire Musicwerks
2005
buy
Byrd & Brazil
Byrd & Brazil
Concord Music Group
2004
buy
Byrd Song
Byrd Song
Fantasy Jazz
2003
buy
Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros
Bossa Nova Pelos...
Fantasy Jazz
2003
buy
Solo Flight
Solo Flight
Fantasy Jazz
2003
buy
Joe Pass Joe Pass
guitar
Stan Getz Stan Getz
sax, tenor
Tal Farlow Tal Farlow
guitar
Herbie Mann Herbie Mann
flute
Milt Jackson Milt Jackson
vibraphone
Modern Jazz Quartet Modern Jazz Quartet
band/orchestra
Karrin Allyson Karrin Allyson
vocalist

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.