16.09. – Almost 30 years have passed since the quintet led by the acoustic guitarist Charlie Byrd joined the saxophonist Stan Getz on a record album called “Jazz Samba,” which introduced the Brazilian bossa nova to North American audiences and lighted a craze for the music that has had lasting effects.
This languorous combination of cool jazz and hot samba made pop stars of both Mr. Getz, previously known primarily as a jazz musician, and Mr. Byrd, who had studied classical guitar with, among others, Andres Segovia and was using the resultant technical proficiency to perform both jazz and classical guitar works.
After three decades, Mr. Byrd is still so closely associated with bossa nova that a high point of each of his sets at Fat Tuesday’s last week was a group of gently sinuous bossa novas, including “Corcovado” and “The Girl From Ipanema,” which epitomize the music’s haunting sense of yearning. But before he got to these pieces, Mr. Byrd and his trio, with Lisle Atkinson on bass and Leroy Williams on drums, showed a variety of material that might not be expected from a trio built around an acoustic guitarist.
Mr. Byrd has rediscovered “Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed,” a lively rhythmic song from the 1947 musical version of “Street Scene” by Langston Hughes and Kurt Weill and, abandoning the catchy lyrics that have usually carried the song, his trio developed it as a colorful instrumental piece. He went in the opposite direction with “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plans,” a song from a 1929 revue, singing it with a murmuring huskiness and including the infrequently heard lyrics that gave it the subtitle “The Blue Pajama Song.”
Mr. Byrd did not neglect either his classical-guitar past (he played an unaccompanied version of Enrique Granados’s “Spanish Dance No. 5”) or his jazz background. Fats Waller and Duke Ellington provided him with tunes that became showcases for the potential of his trio, from gentle, unaccompanied guitar soloing to boiling, percussive climaxes. This mixture created a contrast for his bossa nova segment that made it all the more effective.