"I had done a little homework," says guitarist Charlie Byrd of his preparation for the major role he played, along with saxophonist Stan Getz and jazz broadcaster Felix Grant, in the bossa nova craze of the 1960s.
"I started with Latin music when I was living in New York in the '40s. There were a lot of Cuban bands that were bringing in jazz players just to play hot while they played the rhythm . . and I did a lot of that kind of work."
Not that Byrd's talents stop with Latin-accented jazz. They almost don't stop with anything, so versatile is the Suffolk, Va.-born guitarist. Byrd will typically diversify a set with European classics (with an emphasis on Spanish composers) and standards of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and others. A couple of steaming Benny Goodman sextet numbers and, naturally, a bossa nova or two or three. Byrd's trio will open Tuesday for a week at Blues Alley. Tommy Cecil will be on upright bass, Chuck Redd at the drums.
"I think mostly my reasons for doing it," confesses Byrd of his multifaceted approach, "is that I like those kinds of music. And I think that there's a guitar audience that crosses those lines and I guess by this time . . I have an audience that likes me, likes what I do."