Charlie Lee Byrd (September 16, 1925 – December 2, 1999) was an American jazz guitarist. Byrd was best known for his association with Brazilian music, especially bossa nova. In 1962, he collaborated with Stan Getz on the album Jazz Samba, a recording which brought bossa nova into the mainstream of North American music.
Byrd played fingerstyle on a classical guitar.
Charlie Byrd performing with his trio in July 1997
|Birth name||Charlie Lee Byrd|
|Born||September 16, 1925|
Suffolk, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||December 2, 1999 (aged 74)|
Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.
|Genres||Bossa nova, Latin jazz, swing|
|Labels||Savoy, Riverside, Columbia, Concord Jazz|
|Associated acts||Cal Tjader, Keter Betts, Stan Getz, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Annapolis Brass Quintet|
Charlie Byrd was born in Suffolk, Virginia, in 1925 and grew up in the borough of Chuckatuck. His father, a mandolinist and guitarist, taught him how to play the acoustic steel guitar at age 10. Byrd had three brothers, Oscar, Jack, and Gene "Joe" Byrd, who was a bass player. In 1942 Byrd entered the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and played in the school orchestra. In 1943 he was drafted into the United States Army for World War II, saw combat, then was stationed in Paris in 1945 where he played in an Army Special Services band and toured occupied Europe in the all-soldier production G.I. Carmen.
After the war, Byrd returned to the United States and went to New York City, where he studied composition and jazz theory at the Harnett National Music School in Manhattan, New York City. During this time he began playing a classical guitar. After moving to Washington, D.C. in 1950, he studied classical guitar with Sophocles Papas for several years. In 1954 he became a pupil of the Spanish classical guitarist Andrés Segovia and spent time studying in Italy with Segovia.
In 1957 Byrd met double bassist Keter Betts in a Washington, D.C., club called the Vineyard. The two began doing gigs together, and by October they were frequently performing at a club called the Showboat. In 1959 the pair joined Woody Herman's band and toured Europe for three weeks as part of a State Department-sponsored goodwill tour. The other members of the band were Vince Guaraldi, Bill Harris, Nat Adderley and drummer Jimmy Campbell. Byrd led his own groups that sometimes featured his brother Joe. Byrd was also active as a teacher in the late 1950s; he trained guitar students at his home in Washington, D.C., each required to audition before he agreed to be their teacher.
Byrd was introduced to Brazilian music by Felix Grant, a friend and radio host who had contacts in Brazil in the late 1950s, and who was well-known there by 1960 due to the efforts of Brazilian radio broadcaster Paulo Santos. Following a spring 1961 diplomatic tour of South America (including Brazil) for the State Department, Byrd returned home and met with Stan Getz at the Showboat Lounge. Byrd invited Getz back to his home to listen to some bossa nova recordings by João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim which he had brought back. Getz liked what he heard and the two decided that they wanted to make an album of the songs. The task of creating an authentic sound, however, proved much more challenging than either had anticipated.
Getz convinced Creed Taylor at Verve Records to produce the album. Taylor and Byrd assembled a group of musicians they knew. These early sessions did not turn out to either man's liking, so Byrd gathered a group of musicians that had been to Brazil with him previously and practiced with them in Washington, D.C. until he felt they were ready to record. The group included his brother Gene ("Joe") Byrd, as well as Keter Betts, Bill Reichenbach and Buddy Deppenschmidt. Reichenbach and Deppenschmidt were drummers, and the combination made it easier to achieve samba rhythm. Finally the group was deemed ready and Getz and Taylor arrived in Washington, D.C. on February 13, 1962. They recorded in a building adjacent to All Souls Unitarian Church because of the building's excellent acoustics.
Jazz Samba was released in April 1962, and by September it had entered the Billboard pop album chart. By March of the following year the album had moved to number one. The term "bossa nova" wasn't used until later. The album remained on the charts for seventy weeks, and Getz soon beat John Coltrane in a Down Beat poll. One of the album's most popular tunes was a Jobim hit, titled "Desafinado".
In 1963, Byrd toured Europe with Les McCann and Zoot Sims. Between 1964 and 1965 he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival with Episcopal priest Malcolm Boyd, accompanying prayers from his book Are You Running With Me Jesus? with guitar. In 1967 Byrd brought a lawsuit against Stan Getz and MGM, contending that he was unfairly paid for his contributions to the 1962 album Jazz Samba. The jury agreed with Byrd and awarded him half the royalties from the album.
In 1973 Byrd moved to Annapolis, Maryland, and in September of that year he recorded an album with Cal Tjader titled Tambú, the only recording the two would make together. That same year Byrd joined guitarists Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel and formed the Great Guitars group, which also included drummer Johnny Rae. Byrd collaborated with Venezuelan pianist and composer Aldemaro Romero on the album Onda Nueva/The New Wave.
From 1980 through 1996, he released several of his arrangements to the jazz and classical guitar community through Guitarist's Forum (gfmusic.com), including Charlie Byrd's Christmas Guitar Solos, Mozart: Seven Waltzes For Classical Guitar, and The Charlie Byrd Library featuring the music of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. He also collaborated with the Annapolis Brass Quintet in the late 1980s, appearing with them in over 50 concerts across the United States and releasing two albums.
Byrd played for several years at a jazz club in Silver Spring, Maryland, called The Showboat II which was owned and managed by his manager, Peter Lambros. He was also home-based at the King of France Tavern nightclub at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis from 1973 until his death in 1999. In 1992 the book "Jazz Cooks"—by Bob Young and Al Stankus—was published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, a compilation of recipes that include a few recipes from Byrd. He also authored the 1973 publication Charlie Byrd's Melodic Method for Guitar.
On March 13, 14, 15, 16, 1963 Byrd travelled two hours south of Washington, DC to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to provide music for an original musical, “Lament For Guitar and Two Lovers.” The play was by Lee Devin of the UVa drama department, with music for 10-piece ensemble by Sidney Hodkinsom of the UVa music department. Two night’s later on March 18, the Byrd trio played a concert at Cabell Hall, the university’s acoustic auditorium.
Byrd was married to Rebecca Byrd, and has two daughters from previous marriages, Carol Rose of Charlotte, NC, and Charlotte Byrd of Crownsville, MD. He loved sailboating, and owned a twenty-six-foot boat called "I'm Hip" that he sailed to various parts of the world.
|First Flight||1957||Savoy, Compilation from Jazz Recital (tracks 1–10) and Blues for Night People (tracks 11–17)|
|Jazz Recital||1957||Savoy, February 4, 1957|
|Blues for Night People||1957||Savoy, August 4, 1957; Same as Midnight Guitar with slight difference in the 1st track|
|Midnight Guitar||1957||Savoy, Same as Blues for Night People with slight difference in the 1st track|
|Byrd's Word!||1958||Offbeat / Riverside|
|Lodovico Roncalli Guitar Suites, Op.1||1959||Washington Records WR-429 credited as Charles Byrd|
|Byrd in the Wind||1959||Offbeat / Riverside|
|Mr. Guitar||1959||Offbeat / Riverside|
|The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd||1960||Offbeat / Riverside|
|Charlie Byrd at the Village Vanguard||1961||Offbeat / Riverside|
|Blues Sonata||1961||Offbeat / Riverside|
|Jazz Samba||1962||Verve, with Stan Getz|
|Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros||1962||Riverside|
|Once More! Charlie Byrd's Bossa Nova||1963||Riverside|
|Guitar/Guitar||1963||Columbia, with Herb Ellis|
|Byrd at the Gate||1963||Riverside|
|The Touch of Gold||1965||Columbia|
|Byrdland||1966||Columbia CS 9392/CL 2592|
|The Byrd & The Herd – Charlie Byrd & Woody Herman||1966||Pickwick|
|More Brazilian Byrd||1967||Columbia|
|Christmas Carols for Solo Guitar||1967||Columbia|
|Charlie Byrd Guitar Artistry||1967||Riverside|
|Charlie Byrd Sketches of Brazil – Music of Villa-Lobos||1967||Columbia|
|The Great Byrd||1969||Columbia|
|Byrd Man with Strings||1969||Riverside|
|Charlie Byrd Plays the Greatest Hits of the 60's||1969||Columbia CS 9970|
|For All We Know||1971||Columbia|
|The Stroke of Genius||1971||Columbia|
|The World of Charlie Byrd||1973||Columbia|
|The New Wave (La Onda Nueva)||1974||Columbia, with Aldemaro Romero|
|Tambu||1974||Fantasy, with Cal Tjader|
|Byrd by the Sea||1974||Fantasy|
|Great Guitars||1975||Concord Jazz, live w/ Barney Kessel & Herb Ellis|
|Great Guitars 2||1976||Concord Jazz, live w/ Barney Kessel & Herb Ellis|
|Charlie Byrd Swings Downtown||1976||Improve Media, live|
|Charlie Byrd||1977||Direct to Disc Recording|
|Charlie Byrd in Greenwich Village||1978||Milestone|
|Blue Byrd||1979||Concord Jazz|
|Sugarloaf Suite||1980||Concord Jazz, recorded live at the Concord Jazz Festival, Concord, California, August 1979|
|Great Guitars at the Winery||1980||Concord Jazz|
|Brazilville||1981||Concord Jazz, live w/ Bud Shank|
|Brazilian Soul||1981–1983||Hi-Res, with Laurindo Almeida|
|Latin Odyssey||1981–1983||with Laurindo Almeida|
|The Charlie Byrd Christmas Album||1982||Concord Jazz|
|Isn't It Romantic||1984||Concord Jazz|
|Byrd and Brass||1986||Concord Jazz, w/Annapolis Brass Quintet|
|It's a Wonderful World||1988||Concord Jazz|
|Christmas with Byrd and Brass||1989||w/Annapolis Brass Quintet|
|Great Guitars: Straight Tracks||1991||w/ Herb Ellis & Barney Kessel|
|Rise and Shine||1992||Newport Classic|
|The Washington Guitar Quintet||1992||Concord Jazz|
|Music to Dine By||1993||Leisure Audio|
|I've Got the World on a String||1994||Timeless|
|Moments Like This||1994||Concord Jazz|
|Jazz & Samba||1995|
|Du Hot Club De Concord||1995||Concord Jazz|
|Live at Music Room||1996||Valley Vue, live|
|Return of the Great Guitars||1996||Concord Jazz, live w/ Herb Ellis & Mundell Lowe|
|Latin Byrd||1996||Milestone, compilation album|
|Au Courant||1997||Concord Jazz|
|My Inspiration: Music of Brazil||1999||Concord Jazz|
|For Louis||2000||Concord Jazz|
|Byrd in the Wind||2002||Riverside|
|Charlie Byrd Plays Jobim||2002||–|
|Bamba Samba Bossa Nova||2005||Empire Music Group|
|Byrd at the Gate: Charlie Byrd Trio at the Village Gate||2005||Original Jazz Classics, extended CD Release, live|
|Everybody's Doin' the Bossa Nova||2005||Riverside|
|Great Guitars Concord Jazz||2005||Concord Jazz, live|
|Lodovico Roncalli Suites||2005||–|
|Music of the Brazilian Masters||2005||Concord Picante, with Laurindo Almeida and Carlos Barbosa-Lima|
|World of Charlie Byrd||2005|||
With Helen Merrill
With Joe Glazer
In the late 1960s, Latin jazz, combining rhythms from African and Latin American countries, often played on instruments such as conga, timbale, güiro, and claves, with jazz and classical harmonies played on typical jazz instruments (piano, double bass, etc.) broke through. There are two main varieties: Afro-Cuban jazz was played in the US right after the bebop period, while Brazilian jazz became more popular in the 1960s. Afro-Cuban jazz began as a movement in the mid-1950s as bebop musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Taylor started Afro-Cuban bands influenced by such Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians as Xavier Cugat, Tito Puente, and Arturo Sandoval. Brazilian jazz such as bossa nova is derived from samba, with influences from jazz and other 20th-century classical and popular music styles. Bossa is generally moderately paced, with melodies sung in Portuguese or English. The style was pioneered by Brazilians João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim. The related term jazz-samba describes an adaptation of bossa nova compositions to the jazz idiom by American performers such as Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.
Bossa nova was made popular by Elizete Cardoso's recording of Chega de Saudade on the Canção do Amor Demais LP, composed by Vinícius de Moraes (lyrics) and Antonio Carlos Jobim (music). The initial releases by Gilberto and the 1959 film Black Orpheus brought significant popularity in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, which spread to North America via visiting American jazz musicians. The resulting recordings by Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz cemented its popularity and led to a worldwide boom with 1963's Getz/Gilberto, numerous recordings by famous jazz performers such as Ella Fitzgerald (Ella Abraça Jobim) and Frank Sinatra (Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim), and the entrenchment of the bossa nova style as a lasting influence in world music for several decades and even up to the present.Big Band Bossa Nova (Stan Getz album)
Big Band Bossa Nova is a 1962 album by saxophonist Stan Getz with the Gary McFarland Orchestra. The album was arranged and conducted by Gary McFarland and produced by Creed Taylor for Verve Records. This was Stan's second bossa nova album for Verve following Jazz Samba, his very successful collaboration with guitarist Charlie Byrd.
The music was recorded at the CBS 30th Street Studio in New York City on August 27 and 28, 1962.Bill Reichenbach Jr.
William Frank Reichenbach Jr. (born November 30, 1949) is an American jazz trombonist and composer. He is the son of Bill Reichenbach, who was the drummer for Charlie Byrd from 1962 to 1973. He is best known as a session musician for television, films, cartoons, and commercials. He recorded a solo album, Special Edition, where he is featured on tenor as well as bass trombone.Blues Sonata
Blues Sonata is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1961 and released on the Riverside label in 1963.The album was first released on the Washington Records Offbeat imprint but only received limited distribution prior to Byrd signing with Riverside.Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros
Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1962 and released on the Riverside label.Buddy Deppenschmidt
William Henry "Buddy" Deppenschmidt (born February 16, 1936, Philadelphia, Pa.) is an American jazz drummer, known for recording the seminal 1962 album Jazz Samba along with Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd, Keter Betts, Joe (Gene) Byrd, and Bill Reichenbach.Byrd's Word!
Byrd's Word! is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd with tracks recorded in 1958 and released on the Riverside label in 1962. The album was first released on the Washington Records Offbeat imprint as Jazz at the ShowboatByrd Song
Byrd Song (subtitled Charlie Byrd with Voices) is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1964 and released on the Riverside label.Byrd at the Gate
Byrd at the Gate is a live album by the American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd of tracks recorded at The Village Gate in 1963 and released on the Riverside label.Charlie Byrd at the Village Vanguard
Charlie Byrd at the Village Vanguard is a live album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1961 and released on the Riverside label in 1963. The album was first released on the Washington Records Offbeat imprint but only received limited distribution prior to Byrd signing with Riverside.Chuck Redd
Chuck Redd (born September 10, 1958) is an American jazz drummer and vibraphonist.Desafinado
"Desafinado," a Portuguese word (usually rendered into English as "Out of Tune", or as "Off Key"), is the title of a bossa nova song composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with lyrics (in Portuguese) by Newton Mendonça. It was originally a response to critics who claimed that bossa nova was a new genre for singers who can't sing. The English language lyrics were written by Jon Hendricks and "Jessie Cavanaugh" (a pseudonym used by The Richmond Organisation). Another English lyric, more closely based on the original Portuguese lyric (but not a translation) was written by Gene Lees, and appears on some recordings as well. The version by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd (from the album Jazz Samba) was a major hit in 1962, reaching number 15 and number 4 on Billboard′s pop and easy-listening charts, respectively; their definitive rendering also reached number 11 in the UK, while Ella Fitzgerald's version made number 38. The song was voted by the Brazilian edition of Rolling Stone as the 14th greatest Brazilian song.Jazz Samba
Jazz Samba is a bossa nova album by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd released by Verve Records in 1962. Jazz Samba signaled the beginning of the bossa nova craze in America. Stan Getz was the featured soloist and the tracks were arranged by Charlie Byrd, who had first heard bossa nova during a tour of Brazil in 1961.
Getz and Byrd were accompanied by two bassists: Keter Betts and Joe Byrd, Charlie Byrd's brother who also played guitar. They were joined by two drummers: Buddy Deppenschmidt and Bill Reichenbach. The album was recorded at All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C. on February 13, 1962 and released in April of that year.Two songs, "Desafinado" (Off Key or Out of Tune) and "Samba de Uma Nota Só" (One Note Samba) were composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and were released as singles in the U.S. and Europe. Charlie Byrd wrote one song, and the rest were by Brazilian composers.Stan Getz won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance of 1963 for "Desafinado", and went on to make many other bossa nova recordings, notably with João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto and the popular song "The Girl from Ipanema".
Robert Dimery included Jazz Samba in his book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The painting on the cover is by Olga Albizu.Keter Betts
William Thomas "Keter" Betts (July 22, 1928 – August 6, 2005) was an American jazz double bassist. Born in Port Chester, New York, he was nicknamed "Keter", a short form of the word mosquito.Latin Impressions
Latin Impressions is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1962 and released on the Riverside label.Mr. Guitar (album)
Mr. Guitar is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1960 and released on the Riverside label in 1962. The album was first released on the Washington Records Offbeat imprint as Jazz at the Showboat, Vol. 3 but only received limited distribution prior to Byrd signing with Riverside.Once More! Charlie Byrd's Bossa Nova
Once More! Charlie Byrd's Bossa Nova is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1963 and released on the Riverside label.Solo Flight (Charlie Byrd album)
Solo Flight is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1964 and released on the Riverside label.The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd
The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd is an album by American jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd featuring tracks recorded in 1960 and released on the Riverside label in 1963.The album was first released on the Washington Records Offbeat imprint as Charlie's Choice: Jazz at the Showboat, Vol. 4 but only received limited distribution prior to Byrd signing with Riverside.