Music: Between Two Loves

Candlelight flickered against the low ceiling of Washington's Showboat Lounge one night last week as a mild-mannered Virginian named Charlie Byrd started strumming the strings of his guitar. With bass and drum accompaniment, he played his own composition, Spanish Guitar Blues, went on to a hot-swinging number called Yoti Took Advantage of Me, and then pulled a 180° switch—two solo Bach gavottes, sedate Frescobaldi variations, Villa-Lobos' rolling Prelude in E Minor. At 33, Byrd is that rarity, a musician so versatile that he qualifies as one of the world's top classical and jazz guitarists.

A self-styled conservative. Byrd-refuses to follow the trend...

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