Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. This Timeless CD is a bit unusual in that guitarist Charlie Byrd sings the first six numbers; it is only the second time in his career he has taken vocals on record. His singing is simple and generally effective if not too memorable. The final 11 numbers are instrumentals (odd programming) and also surprising in that the emphasis is on standards, often from the swing era; there is only one Brazilian song (Antonio Carlos Jobim's "So Danca Samba"). Byrd (in a trio with bassist Joe Byrd and drummer Chuck Redd) is in generally fine form overall although it is doubtful that he will get too many requests to feature his singing in the future.
Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow and Charlie Byrd exemplify the breadth of American jazz. These elder statesmen of the instrument have well over a century of combined knowledge and experience, and their styles cover a vast spectrum of the music, from straight-ahead swing, to be-bop, to bossa nova and beyond. Herb Ellis established an impeccable standard for swinging, mainstream jazz guitar through his extensive work in concert and on record with numerous great jazz instrumentalists including Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Harry Edison and singer Ella Fitzgerald.
The second Great Guitars album features guitarists Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, and Herb Ellis matching wits and generally inspiring each other throughout this studio set. The trio, along with bassist Joe Byrd and drummer Wayne Philips, are heard together on four numbers (best are "Undecided" and Ellis' "H & B Guitar Boogie"; Ellis and Kessel duet on "Down Home Blues"; Byrd has two features to himself; and a medley combines together short versions of "Benny's Bugle & and "Latin Groove" with the typically exuberant "Charlie's Blues" A fine all-around effort.
Charlie Hunter is the best kind of restless musician. Just about every new album brings another new ensemble and new possibilities. This time out, Hunter teams with drummer Bobby Previte (who he has recorded with extensively) and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes (who played on Hunter's 2003 album Right Now Move). Both players have been stalwarts of the N.Y.C. jazz scene since the late '70s but have played on any number of jazz, rock, and pop recordings. As players, they really know how to serve a song rather than put their imprint on it and Hunter takes full advantage with a really strong batch of tunes that play less like jazz and more like classic pop and soul tunes. They've got strong, catchy melodies, nice changes, and in-the-pocket grooves that can't be beat.