Solo performer: Charlie Byrd (guitar).
Recorded in 1965.
Personnel: Charlie Byrd (guitar).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Liner Note Author: Dan Morgenstern.
Recording information: 1965.
Photographer: S.C. Bhug.
Arranger: Charlie Byrd.
Although Charlie Byrd recorded dozens of quality albums, the 1960s weren't one of his best decades. Although his guitar work was excellent, as always, it tended to get buried in awkward arrangements of the latest Beatles' songs. As a result, his music often sounded cheesy. It's a rare pleasure, then, to listen to Solo Flight, which was recorded for Riverside in 1965. With no distracting accompaniment, Byrd cuts to the musical chase and delivers 11 lovely, succinct guitar suites. He combines a smooth blend of chords and solo runs, much as Joe Pass would later do, on favorites like "Satin Doll" and "Easy Living," along with fun oddities like "House of the Rising Sun." Unlike Pass, Byrd approaches a song like "Am I Blue" in a fairly simple, straightforward manner, more interested in the melody than virtuosity. "You Took Advantage of Me," for instance, runs only a bit over three minutes, mostly because the guitarist has developed all the ideas he cared to develop within that time frame. Many fans of more progressive jazz will find this all a bit conservative, but Byrd fans happily note that his best work has a timeless quality. Solo Flight easily fits into that category. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.