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Bamba-Samba Bossa Nova

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Album Review

For this unusual set, guitarist Charlie Byrd is accompanied by what is billed as the Woody Herman Big Band, although it is mostly a studio orchestra sprinkled with a few of Herman's associates. The first four selections are Byrd originals that almost sound like bossa nova in spots, even though the style had not solidified and been named yet. Byrd's classical training and interest in Brazilian music are very much in evidence. The final selections are a re-creation of Ralph Burns' four-part "Summer Sequence," which at the time was over a decade old. The main difference between this and the original Herman recording is that Byrd is the main soloist throughout much of the extensive work. Although not quite essential, Bamba-Samba Bossa Nova (which has often been reissued under Woody Herman's name) has its moments of interest and shows how Charlie Byrd sounded before bossa nova took off.


Born: 16 September 1925 in Chuckatuck, VA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Tasteful, low-key, and ingratiatingly melodic, Charlie Byrd had two notable accomplishments to his credit -- applying acoustic classical guitar techniques to jazz and popular music and helping to introduce Brazilian music to mass North American audiences. Born into a musical family, Byrd experienced his first brush with greatness while a teenager in France during World War II, playing with his idol Django Reinhardt. After some postwar gigs with Sol Yaged, Joe Marsala and Freddie Slack, Byrd temporarily...
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