16 September 1925, Chuckatuck, Virginia, USA, d. 2 December 1999, Annapolis, Maryland, USA. Byrd began playing guitar while still a small child and by the start of World War II was already highly proficient. During the war he met and played with Django Reinhardt and soon after the end of the war he became a full-time professional musician. He played in a number of popular dance bands but at the end of the 40s abandoned ambitions to play jazz and turned instead to the study of classical guitar. After studying under several leading tutors, including Andrès Segovia, he returned to the USA where he formed his own band in Washington, DC. With this group he played jazz but brought to his interpretations many of the techniques and some of the forms of the classical repertoire.
In the late 50s he was with Woody Herman and in the early 60s played with Stan Getz, with whom he developed his interest in Latin American music, thus helping to...