Jazz Greats Pay Tribute to Charlie Byrd
Aug 15, 2011 11:44PM
● By Anonymous
While there have been several tributes to Byrd over the years, the Festival’s “salute” means a great deal to Byrd’s widow, Becky, of Annapolis, MD, as well as to his family. She comments, “Anytime jazz lovers want pay tribute to Charlie, it does my heart good. This tribute at the Avalon Theatre in Easton is a special one because Charlie had a wonderful experience playing there during the latter part of his career.”
She adds that she is especially touched by the musicians who will pay tribute to her late husband at the event, including multi-talented American jazz guitarist-composer-producer and international recording and touring artist Nate Najar, collaborating with accomplished vibraphonist and drummer Chuck Redd and his ensemble.
She comments, “Chuck Redd was like a son to Charlie and a significant member of the Charlie Byrd Trio for 19 years with Charlie’s brother Joe, who played bass for the Trio. Nate Najar, a talented young acoustical jazz guitarist, was profoundly influenced by Charlie’s playing style and used it as he developed his own unique acoustical jazz style. A special part of the tribute will be when Nate plays some tunes on Charlie’s Ramirez guitar – those will be some special moments for me.”
Becky Byrd recalls meeting Charlie Byrd at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis. “He was such a special and real individual. When I first talked to him at the Maryland Inn, I was struck by how laid back and approachable he was. He later took me sailing and we just hit it off.” She adds, “It didn’t take long for me to realize how special his music really was. He loved playing music and because of that he created a beautiful sound. The other thing that really impressed me was his commitment to practicing sometimes four hours a day. This meant I got a private concert every day at home.”
Byrd comments that she is also looking forward to hearing legendary jazz pianist Monty Alexander, the Festival’s artistic director, who played with Byrd on a few occasions over the years. The Monty Alexander Quartet will round out the evening on September 3 with an 8:00 p.m. performance following the Salute to Charlie Byrd that afternoon.
The Festival also provides the opportunity each year to bring “emerging jazz artists” before appreciative audiences in Easton. The 2010 Monty Alexander Festival gave then 18-year old Grace Kelly, an amazing alto saxophonist who is hailed as a rising star in the jazz world, a chance to feel the unbridled enthusiasm of the Festival’s audience. On Friday, September 2 at 7 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre, trumpet player Dominick Farinacci and pianist Aaron Diehl, will perform as a duo, followed by the Grace Kelly Quintet. Farinacci has gained recognition from Quincy Jones, among others, who says of Dominick "this kid is 360 degrees!" Diehl, who has performed with the Wynton Marsalis Septet, is known for his interpretations of the music of Scott Joplin, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, and other masters of the jazz piano.
The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival is presented by Jazz on the Chesapeake, a program of Chesapeake Chamber Music, dedicated to promoting jazz in the Chesapeake region. The Festival is generously underwritten by Verizon, with additional support from numerous business and private sponsors. Tickets can be purchased online at ChesapeakeChamberMusic.org/jazz or by calling the Chesapeake Chamber Music office at 410-819-0380. For further information about Jazz on the Chesapeake, visit ChesapeakeChamberMusic.org/jazz or call the CCM office at 410-819-0380.
A Salute to Charlie Byrd will pay tribute to the late jazz guitarist at the upcoming 2011 Monty Alexander Jazz Festival on September 3, 2011 at 4 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD. Accomplished vibraphonist and drummer Chuck Redd and his ensemble will collaborate with multi-talented American jazz guitarist-composer-producer and international recording and touring artist Nate Najar, followed at 8 p.m. by legendary jazz pianist, Monty Alexander, who lent his name to the Festival, along with the Monty Alexander Quartet. On Friday, September 2 at 7 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre, trumpet player Dominick Farinacci and pianist Aaron Diehl, will perform as a duo, followed by the Grace Kelly Quintet. Photo #1: Pictured is the Charlie Byrd Trio, who dominated the jazz scene in the 1970s and 1980s in Annapolis. Trio member Chuck Redd, accomplished vibraphonist and drummer, will be among a number of jazz greats playing in a tribute to Byrd at the upcoming Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, presented by Jazz on the Chesapeake.
Above is multi-talented American jazz guitarist-composer-producer and international recording and touring artist Nate Najar.
Becky Byrd, (left) widow of the late Charlie Byrd, at the Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD, where she now serves as vice president of the board and assists with operating the jazz venue. Byrd has been instrumental in gathering and displaying memorabilia about Charlie Byrd’s jazz career in the lobby of the Mainstay. Jazz guitarist Nate Najar will play some tunes on Byrd’s Ramirez guitar during the Charlie Byrd Tribute at this year’s Monty Alexander Jazz Festival at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD.