Charlie Byrd (1925-1999) is, perhaps, better known for his recordings with Stan Getz and the gems turned out with Herbie Ellis and Barney Kessel. All but the closest followers of his career forget about the sessions with Woody Herman's big band. It's nice to see these recording available on CD.
Empire Musicwerks now owns the rights to all the jazz material recorded by Everest Records during the 1950s and 1960s and it's beginning to show up on compact discs. Everest was one of the most technically advanced studios of the era and the sound is right-on.
Charlie Byrd and Woody Herman were very busy at Christmas time in 1958. These sessions found them in the recording studio on Christmas Eve and back again on December 26. While it isn't really relative to this review, Herman's sextet featuring Charlie Byrd was back in the studio in mid January of 1959, this time for Roulette Records.
The personnel listed above appeared on the December 26th recording session and waxed "Bamba Samba," "Original #2," "Love Song Ballad" and "Prelude A La Cha Cha." The guitarist penned all the four compositions and he solos flawlessly on each track. Arrangements were by Sid Feller.
The Christmas Eve band differed slightly in the trumpet, trombone and reed sections and the liner notes are quite specific. The band performs all four movements of "Summer Sequence" as written and arranged by the great Ralph Burns. Again, Charlie Byrd has his shining moments. This reviewer enjoys the Everest recording as much as the star-laden Columbia version of a decade earlier.
Sound samples are available at the label's web site. Give these tracks a listen. Recommended!