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Mr. Guitar

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Album Review

A delightful trio outing with an adroit and light feel, also featuring Keter Betts on bass and Bertell Knox on drums. Byrd's playing combines jazz swing with influences from both Spanish guitar and classical music on a session comprised of both Byrd originals and covers, usually of Gershwin and Ellington tunes. Betts and Knox are both nimble players who flesh out Byrd's arrangements without encumbering them, Knox exhibiting a deft touch on the snares in particular. Byrd swings pretty hard on numbers like "Gypsy in My Soul," and gets more into the Spanish sound on the original "Funky Flamenco"; there is one chance for the musicians to stretch out into more space, on the six-minute "Lay the Lily Low." It sounds like this album was a substantial influence upon the noted eclectic British folk guitarist Davy Graham, whose debut LP from the early '60s, Guitar Player, has arrangements that are similar to much of what's on Mr. Guitar.


Born: September 16, 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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Mr. Guitar, Charlie Byrd
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