Charlie Byrd/Herb Ellis/Mundell Lowe: The Return of The Great Guitars

Anyone who remembers the 1970s recordings of the trio called The Great Guitars-consisting of Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel-knows that boastful name was no misnomer. Those albums contain great guitar music, delivered by artists who are genuine masters of their craft. This Great Guitars project is a reunion, almost-Kessel suffered a stroke a few years ago and is replaced by Mundell Lowe (he ably fills Kessel’s role, playing with a similar understated manner). Larry Coryell is a guest artist add his improvisations and rich harmonies and a fresh spark to the proceedings. All indulge in generous trading of solos and let their considerable talents create sweet music built on innate rapport. One highlight is “My Funny Valentine,” where a tender duet by Byrd and Coryell evokes a slow dance. – Deni Kasrel