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Sixties Byrd is a compilation of recordings made through that momentous decade for Columbia by the guitarist Charlie Byrd. He was unusual in that he was both a jazz and classical guitar virtuoso. He studied under Andrés Segovia in Italy as was described by the critic Leonard Feather to be “possibly the most versatile guitarist ever to play jazz” Byrd was the perfect choice to consider the great hits of the day from a sensitive and uniquely eclectic musical perspective.
The songwriters who defined the era are represented here; Antonio Carlos Jobim, Lennon and McCartney, Bacharach-David, Simon and Garfunkel and Jimmy Webb; complemented by some important themes from period cinema; Georgy Girl, Alfie, Casino Royale. A psychedelic setting for Krzysztof Komeda’s Lullaby for Rosemary’s Baby, and a very Utopian arrangement of Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In from the hit Broadway musical, Hair featuring Herbie Hancock on keyboards complete the celebration.
Of course, Charlie Byrd had announced his arrival as a popular artist in 1962 when while completing the first of many trips to Brazil as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department he succumbed to Bossa Nova. Unable to resist the music’s seductive charms, he returned home and with his friend the saxophonist Stan Getz, fashioned the million selling Jazz Samba, which ignited the Bossa Nova craze in North America, the only jazz album ever to top the Billboard pop charts.