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Jazz Reviews : Byrd and Brass at Cal State Long Beach

February 09, 1988|JOY CHILDS

Jazz is no stranger to classical music or to Brazilian music. Saturday, the Charlie Byrd Trio and the Annapolis Brass Quintet made a rare--and delightful--appearance at Cal State Long Beach.

As could be expected, the trio (Byrd on amplified guitar, brother Joe on bass, Chuck Redd on drums) demonstrated its admiration and affection for Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim on two selections. "Triste" became a melancholy story told via sensitive and lyrical interpretations by the brothers Byrd. Surprisingly, though, the now familiar "One Note Samba" was undistinguished.

Nobody does Gershwin better on jazz guitar than Byrd, and nowhere more enticing than in a medley that included a softly romantic "Someone to Watch Over Me" and a brief but gutsy "Nice Work If You Can Get It."

With the massed sounds of the brass instrument quintet accompanying the trio, the evening opened with an unfortunate Tommy Newsom arrangement of "Strike Up the Band," which vacillated from wildly patriotic to tame swing. Another joint venture, "Franz and Johann"--better known as, and intended to be, "Frankie and Johnny"--just didn't work in its waltzy meter. Collective efforts were much more engaging on "Elizabethan Suite," five 16th-Century dances by Anthony Holborne,

Saved for last was the most appropriate fusion of the jazz and brass chamber musical elements in "En Memoria De Chano Pozo," which ran the gamut from Segovia to swing.

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