All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

203

Charlie Byrd: Solo Flight

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Rarely in today’s global music marketplace does an artist successfully combine staggering talent with equally superlative success. There are those who manage one or the other, but only a select few achieve both. Guitarist Charlie Byrd was one such individual, though admittedly the playing field back during his prime was much more populous with publicly lauded and brilliantly accomplished musicians. His back-story reads like a string of serendipitous twists of good fortune and included fateful meetings with guitar icons Django Reinhardt and Andres Segovia.

Byrd hit the big time with the superior abilities to back it up. The Riverside brass recognized a probable cash cow when they saw one and set about supplanting him in every conceivable sort of commercial surrounding from “with Voices” dates to strings-heavy sessions covering the trendiest examples of popular song. Byrd played along and in the process built up a loyal fan base that continues to this day, critics be damned.

This new reissue revives one of Byrd’s solo ventures recorded in 1965, relatively late in his Riverside tenure. It was a format to which he was ideally suited and his acoustic strings sing sweetly across the eleven chosen tracks. Byrd’s fretwork is flawless throughout and ironically that’s a big part of the problem. He can play each and every one of these tunes in his sleep, but rather than take daring chances with the arrangements he opts instead to render them in relatively rote readings. His caution might be the product of producer pressure, but perfection can easily become a catalyst for boredom. It’s a complaint often voiced by critics of Byrd’s numerous albums.

Standards like “Am I Blue” and “Mood Indigo” drift by in a breezy succession of filigree strums and gilded chords, but just like a tranquil summer wind, they’re difficult to bottle and savor. A downcast version of “House of the Rising Sun,” injected with classical Spanish tinges, offers one of the rare instances of sourness and unrepentant blues. “Blue Mobile” also hints at less flowery regions of inquiry through staccato arpeggios that supply clever thematic uncertainty. Both pieces are welcome watermarks in an otherwise overly cordial recital.

Adding to the disc’s general disposability are the lengths of the pieces, the longest clocking in at just less than four minutes. Each seems custom tailored for jukebox play and their individual brevity doesn’t allow much in the way of extended improvisation. Byrd resorts mostly to running through the conventional melodies and adding the occasional flourish or detour here and there. As such, the program goes by swiftly, but leaves little in the way of lasting creative residue. Taken in a single sitting it’s a pleasant affair, beautifully played and recorded, but lacking the punch or bite that would’ve set it apart from a simple audience-friendly lark.



Visit Riverside on the web.


Track Listing: Am I Blue/ Easy Living/ House of the Rising Sun/ Mood Indigo/ You Took Advantage of Me/ Lil

Personnel: Charlie Byrd- guitar. Recorded: 1965.

Title: Solo Flight | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

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

Related Articles

Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Plus One CD/LP/Track Review
Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Don't You Wish?" CD/LP/Track Review Don't You Wish?
by Patrick Burnette
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "Unloved" CD/LP/Track Review Unloved
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Walkin' On Air" CD/LP/Track Review Walkin' On Air
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 21, 2017
Read "After The Fall" CD/LP/Track Review After The Fall
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Destinations" CD/LP/Track Review Destinations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "I Try To Remember Where I Come From" CD/LP/Track Review I Try To Remember Where I Come From
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 17, 2017