Man Killed in Tuesday Crash was Joe Byrd, Jazz Guitarist
Yesterday’s car accident in Edgewater took the life of Gene Herbert Byrd, also known as jazz bass and guitar great Joe Byrd. Byrd and his brother Charlie, who died in 1999, popularized South American Bossa Nova music in the 1960s.
According to the Washington Post, an album the Byrds recorded in February of 1962, “Jazz Samba,” was credited with bringing the sounds to the US. After they recorded the album at the All Souls Unitarian Church in northwest DC, the album stayed on the charts for 7 weeks. “[It] reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart,” the article said.
For over 40 years, Byrd and his older brother Charlie performed together, visiting over 100 countries. The were named Good Will Ambassadors by the State Department.
Byrd performed at the White House for Presidents Johnson, Ford and Carter. He also performed all over the Washington and Baltimore metro areas.
“I’m the luckiest guy alive… I’ve had a wonderful 40-year career and have made a living playing the music I love best!” his website reads.
On the best-selling record, “Jazz Samba,” the Byrd brothers paired up with Stan Getz on saxophone.
Over the years, Byrd played and recorded with many jazz legends. Both Joe and Charlie settled in the Annapolis area. For 25 years, Joe and Charlie played in the
“Charlie Byrd Trio” at King of France Tavern inside the Maryland Inn.
After Charlie died in 1999, Joe created his own group, the “Joe Byrd Trio.” They were the house band for the old Annapolis Hilton, the Annapolis Hotel and the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Byrd retired from public performing in 2008, but continued to produce and promote jazz, including his Joe Byrd Jams at 49 West Street in Annapolis, Jazz at the Loews Annapolis and Jazz at the Madison.