September 16: American jazz and classical guitar virtuoso Charlie Byrd was born on this day in 1925...

... he died on November 30, 1999.

Born in Suffolk, Virginia, Charlie Lee Byrd became the first North American guitarist who best understood and played Brazilian music, especially the Bossa Nova genre. In 1962, Byrd collaborated with Stan Getz on the famous album, Jazz Samba, a recording which pushed bossa nova into the mainstream of North America.

Charlie's father—a mandolin and guitar player—taught him how to play the acoustic steel guitar at age 10, though he eventually went on to study with the renowned Sophocles Papas.

During World War II, Byrd played in an Army Special Services band. When he returned to the States, he studied composition and jazz theory at the Harnett National Music School in New York City. During this time he began using a classical guitar.

After moving to Washington, D.C. in 1950, he studied classical guitar with Sophocles Papas for several years. In 1954 he became a pupil of the Spanish classical guitarist Andres Segovia and spent time studying in Italy with "the Maestro."

Byrd's has said his strongest and earliest influence was the gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, whom he saw perform in Paris.

HIGHLY Recommended (Links to entire Amazon Website):
Jazz SambaWorld of Charlie ByrdByrd at the Gate: Charlie Byrd Trio at the Villiage Gate [Vinyl]