Tasteful, low-key, and ingratiatingly melodic, Charlie Byrd had two notable accomplishments to his credit applying acoustic classical guitar techniques to jazz and popular music and helping to introduce Brazilian music to mass North American audiences.
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's extraordinary technique and unique arrangements have influenced guitarists everywhere.
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.
From the liner notes: Byrd, in this album, has taken a rather wider view in exploring the guitar's possibilities in jazz. His use of finger style on the unamplified Spanish guitar reveals all the delicacy of shade and colour to be wrought from the instrument and the way Byrd infuses a rich jazz flavour into his playing makes really beautiful listening. In the years since this LP was recorded, Byrd has passed through several important phases – he was one of the main contributors to the bossa nova explosion of the early '60ies when he partnered Stan Getz on the million-selling Desafinado – and his musical presence has continued to make itself felt in many diverse areas of music, yet "Blues for Night People" remains the high spot of this recording career. In short, one of the great jazz guitar records of our time.