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Mundell Lowe/Lloyd Wells: This One’s for Charlie

This fine tribute to the late, great Charlie Byrd is performed by Lloyd Wells, a Broadway and Nashville studio guitarist, and Mundell Lowe, a respected jazzman in his own right who played with Byrd in later editions of the famed Great Guitars (whose original membership also boasted Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis).

Musically like-minded, Lowe and Wells link up from the get-go, exchanging choruses back and forth like a walk in the park. There’s plenty of expert fretwork here, even though the performances are pretty laid-back overall, typified by the playing on “Snowfall,” “Emily,” “Lush Life” and “My One and Only Love”(check out its especially nice tandem-guitar opening). Of course, guys with so much collective experience can also swing effectively, something they demonstrate on the readings of “Lady Be Good” and Wells’ original blues “What’s Up Doc?,” which features a fun-sounding series of fours and some nice simultaneous soloing.

So if you like jazz guitar that’s mellow, tasty and straightforward, this album is probably for you. One thing that’s a fairly safe bet: Charlie would have approved.

Originally Published