Monday, June 28, 2010

Charlie Byrd - Byrd at the Gate

This is a listening pleasure to the first degree. Unlike any other, Charlie Byrd sincerely knows how to make his instrument speak, sending graceful chords and melodies to this attentive audience. Staged at the Village Gate in New York City, Byrd pulls out a lengthy set of material from his soul, encountering everything from swing jazz to bebop (with the help of two special guests) to Latin America's candid art form. Yes, the trio plays bossa nova with grace and finesse, enlightening the crowd at this "miniature music festival," notes reviewer Joe Goldberg. Byrd prances along with his trio mates, Keter Betts on bass and Bill Reichenbach on the skins. Positively speaking, the majority of the material has a vibrant flair, with some attuned to a candid, easy listening aura, while other tunes heighten the energy with dramatic percussion and more elaborate sonic territory. For example, Byrd uses his colorful musical personality well during his originals, "Blues for Night People" and "Ela Me Deixou," while doing well to inspire with "Shiny Stockings" and an inviting "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Melancholy and sweet, the trio brings in guests Seldon Powell on tenor sax and Clark Terry ("Some Other Spring") on trumpet to engage the listeners even further with spontaneity and creative charm. Joyous and uplifting, this record is sure to free up one's day, helping to release stress and put the swing beat, which might have been lost, back into the steps. "Where Are the Hebrew Children?," a piece registering in at eight long minutes, provides the template for a stirring free jam, eerie and haunting at times, honing in on a darker-feeling blues riff. Cheers to the Charlie Byrd Trio for a dynamic effort during this May 1963 gig. Applause, applause. - by Shawn M. Haney, AMG

Artist: The Charlie Byrd Trio
Album: Byrd at the Gate
Year: 1963
Label: OJC (20-bit remastered, 1992)
Total time: 42:30

1.  Shiny Stockings (Frank Foster) 4:57
2.  More (Nino Oliviero/Riz Ortolani/Marcello Ciorciolini/Norman Newell) 2:54
3.  Blues For Night People (Charlie Byrd) 7:06
4.  Butter And Egg Man (Percy Venables/Louis Armstrong) 3:40
5.  Ela Me Deixou (Charlie Byrd) 3:34
6.  Broadway (Henry Woode/Teddy McRae/Bill Bird) 4:42
7.  I Left My Heart In San Francisco (George Cory/Douglass Cross) 2:59
8.  Some Other Spring (Arthur Herzog Jr./Irene Kitchings) 4:17
9.  Where Are The Hebrew Children (Traditional) 8:21

Charlie Byrd (Guitar)
Keter Betts (Double Bass)
Bill Reichenbach (Drums)
Clark Terry (Trumpet) - 4,6,8
Seldon Powell (Tenor Saxophone) - 2,5,6

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