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Jazz Guitarist Byrd Dead At 74

Jazz guitarist and recording artist Charlie Byrd died in his Annapolis home Tuesday after a long illness. He was 74.

He died of cancer, which was first diagnosed 29 years ago, said his sister-in-law, Elana Byrd.

During a career that spanned five decades, Byrd recorded more than 100 albums of jazz and classical guitar.

Byrd studied in Paris and New York City in the mid-1940s, and by the late 1940s, he had become an established figure on the East Coast jazz scene.

He brought his fusion of jazz and classical guitar to clubs in New York and Washington, D.C. during the 1950s. In the 1960s, he began to experiment with Brazilian rhythms. His record album Jazz Samba, recorded with Stan Getz, helped popularize the bossa nova for American audiences.

More recently, Byrd brought a mix of jazz, classical, and original composition to the nation's capital with his Washington Guitar Quintet

Byrd is survived by his wife, Rebecca, two daughters and two brothers. Memorial services are being planned in Annapolis and Chuckatuck, Va. His family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Charlie Byrd Memorial Fund for the Study of Guitar at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore.

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