Understated, tasteful and melodic, Charlie Byrd had two notableaccomplishments to his credit; applying acoustic classical guitar techniques to jazz and popular music and helping introduce Brazilian music to North America.
He started recording for Savoy as a leader in the late fifties. The orientation of the music was jazz, but jazz infused with classical technique and sound (it was said he could play a Bach cantata with the same ease as a Gershwin song) and all of the recordings on this compilation are from his exquisite first album ‘Jazz Recital’.
Charlie Byrd, “I’d like to see guitarists of today using more of the vast store of knowledge that has been piled up by the great lute players and guitarists of the past 400 years. Men like Dowland, Milan and Weiss wrote and played very difficult things that have not been surpassed to this very day!"
A tour of South America in 1961 under the aegis of the state department proved to be a revelation, for it was in Brazil that Byrd discovered the emerging bossa nova movement.
Once back in D.C, he played some bossa nova tapes to Stan Getz, who then convinced Verve's Creed Taylor to record an album of Brazilian music with him and Byrd. That album, the masterful 'Jazz Samba', led by a tune called 'Desafinado' became a runaway hit (the only jazz album to make number 1 in the pop charts) and had the effect of launching the bossa nova as an international force.
Following this success, many albums for Riverside followed including the defining 'Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros' and Byrd landed a major contract with Columbia. In 1973 he formed the group great guitars with Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel and wrote an instruction manual for the guitar that is still widely used. From 1974 onward, Byrd recorded for the concord jazz label.
Charlie Byrd died in December 1999 after a long fight with cancer.
As one of the pioneers of jazz-rock, Larry Coryell deserves a special place in the history books. He brought what amounted to a nearly alien sensibility to jazz electric guitar playing in the 1960s, a hard-edged, cutting tone, phrasing and note-bending that owed as much to blues and rock as it did to earlier, smoother bop influences. Yet as a true eclectic, armed with a brilliant technique, he is comfortable in any style, covering almost every base from distortion-laden electric work to the most delicate, soothing, intricate lines on acoustic guitar.
As he rose through the Sixties, Coryell replaced Gabor Szabo in ChicoHamilton's band and collaborated with Herbie Mann and vibraharpist Gary Burton. Eleventh house were created in 1973 and throughout the decade the guitarist worked with the best musicians on the planet including John Mclaughlin, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Paco De Lucia, Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Sonny Rollins, Don Cherry, Stephane Grappelli, Chick Corea and Charles Mingus.
Pioneering and eclectic, that Larry Coryell always seems to be looking for a new challenge is evidenced by his ambitious avant-garde interpretations of Stravinsky, Ravel and Rimsky-Korsakov.
If Coryell's reputation is for breathtaking technical proficiency atbreakneck speed, the numbers on this album are proof of his sensitivity. As jazz writer Doug Payne states "Coryell tends to sound Wes-like in a standards bag. But he’s up to the task of stamping his otherwise indicative personality on the proceedings... a nice selection of Larry Coryell¹s appealing traditional sides"KENNY BURRELL “Kenny Burrell that's the sound I'm looking for." Jimi Hendrix Staunch musical integrity and discriminate taste coupled with matchless technique have made Kenny Burrell nonpareil among his peers. "My goal is to play with good tone, good phrasing and to swing,"says Burrell, "I strive for honesty in playing what I feel."
"Master instrumentalist and composer," "virtuoso," "historic figure of American guitar." "Ellington's favourite guitar player" - this is a typical sampling of the critical praise routinely bestowed on Burrell, who pioneered the guitar-led trio with bass and drums.
One of the most popular and respected jazz guitarists ever, two vivacious mid sixties albums for blue note and Verve, ‘Midnight Blue’ and ‘Guitar Forms’ perfectly showcased Kenny Burrell’s unique artistry.
Doug Payne writes of Burrell, “He’s simply a master-craftsman who comes off with one brilliantly-executed passage after another. He soothes and surprises all at once and is consistently engaging without ever once relying on pet licks.”
Kenny Burrell has been the recipient of many awards and has been voted "best guitarist" numerous times by music fans and critics worldwide. He has been dubbed America's "guitar laureate".