89.1 WEMU

Guitarist Nate Najar channels Charlie Byrd on new CD

Feb 1, 2013

Cover of "Blues For Night People: The Nate Najar Trio Remembers Charlie Byrd"
Credit natenajar.com

The WEMU playlist this morning included many great guitarists.  My initial inspiration was to promote guitarist Jake Reichbart and his quartet at this afternoon’s free “Sesi Motors 501 Jazz Show” at Rush Street.  But, you can’t build a three and half hour program around one artist.  So, I went to our “new stacks” and checked out a disc that we’d had for a few weeks, gave it try, gave it two thumbs up and got it on the air.   It is “Blues For Night People: The Nate Najar Trio Remembers Charlie Byrd” and it is quite good.

Like Jake Reichbart, Najar is a brilliant technician and incurable romantic.  He is unabashedly honest about his love and respect for the late great guitarist Charlie Byrd.  On the disc, Nate Najar plays Byrd’s 1974 Ramirez 1A Classical Guitar with taste and grace.  His sidemen display equal taste and grace:  Tommy Cecil plays bass and Chuck Redd is featured on drums and vibraphone.  Both musicians are from the Washington, DC area – Charlie Byrd’s home town – and are more than familiar with his music. 

By now you know that I don’t recommend tribute recordings that are a mere re-creation of the original.  “Blues For Night People” is recommendable because the trio brings new ideas and approaches to the repertoire.  Yes, they cover some of Byrd’s best-loved tunes:  “O Pato”, “Concierto De Aranjuez” and the title track among them, but their interpretations are tempered by respect for gypsy jazz originator and guitarist, Django Reinhardt.   Chuck Redd’s turns on vibes add more air, space and delicacy to the mix.  With “Blues For Night People: The Nate Najar Trio Remembers Charlie Byrd”, a whole new generation of music listeners will discover the beauty of nylon fingerstyle guitar.  And- if you want to discover how beautiful the instrument sounds in live performance, check out our own local guitar master Jake Reichbart!