Make sure to tune in to Jazz at 100 every Thursday night from 7-9! These are the two hours that aired on January 25.
In this hour we will survey the 1950s contributions of Stan Kenton and his orchestra, Count Basie and his New Testament Band, Duke Ellington at Newport, Gil Evans studio band, Quincy Jones and the adventurous Dectet of Teddy Charles.
Bebop had its roots in the big bands of the late 1930s and was nurtured in jam sessions during the war and the musician’s strike of the 1940s. By 1950, the prescient Coleman Hawkins, and the pioneers – Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and Max Roach were well-established stars at risk of the music moving on and leaving them behind. Yet, they all had much more to offer in the 1950s.
For every music star, thousands spend their lives playing a supporting role — those who barely see and often don’t seek the spotlight.
One of them died Tuesday. His name was Joe Byrd, and he was a hell of a bass player. He was 78 when the driver of an SUV ran a red light and struck his car.
He was also guitarist Charlie Byrd’s younger brother. Charlie came to international attention in 1962 with his album Jazz Samba. Recorded in a church in Washington, D.C., with guest saxophonist Stan Getz, it produced a Top 20 pop hit with the Antonio Carlos Jobim tune “Desafinado.” The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and helped launch the bossa nova craze in the U.S.
Joe played rhythm guitar and a little bass on Jazz Samba. (His given name was Gene Byrd, and that’s how he’s credited on the album.) Charlie became a jazz star and Joe happily backed him up for four decades. Here’s a later clip of the Charlie Byrd Trio, with Chuck Redd on drums. Continue reading The Jazz Journey Of Joe Byrd: From Background Bassist To Spotlight Star