This second installment in the Classics Charlie Parker chronology contains quite a number of Bird's best-loved and most respected recordings. The first 12 tracks, recorded in New York for the Dial label in October and November of 1947, are all masterpieces of modern music, with the ballads, especially "Embraceable You," constituting some of Parker's very best recorded work. This is the classic 1947 quintet with Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach. Even if his personal life was characteristically chaotic, 1947 was a good year for Charlie Parker's music. It was in November 1947 that this band hit the road to play the El Sino Club on St. Antoine Boulevard in Detroit. Unfortunately, Bird got really snockered and couldn't perform, so the El Sino management canceled the gig. Bird ultimately destroyed his saxophone by throwing it out of a hotel window onto the street below. (A tragic and disturbing image!) Back in New York, the band – now a sextet with the addition of trombonist J.J. Johnson – made six more sides for Dial on December 17, 1947.
The Savoy imprint, after being acquired by an assortment of companies over the years, has been reinvigorated to celebrate its 60th anniversary. This three-disc set includes all of Parker's work for the Dial and Savoy labels (excluding alternate takes–hence the title). It starts off with his appearance as a sideman with the Tiny Grimes Quintette, at which time the 24-year-old's alto saxophone playing bears his unmistakable stamp of fluidity and daring aplomb. The stellar lights of bebop are heard throughout this set, as Parker plays with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Max Roach, creating the enduring shape of contemporary jazz.
Charlie Parker's historic Dial sessions have been reissued in a variety of ways over the years. This is especially true since the advent of the compact disc. These sessions not only capture Parker's alto brillance but highlight his interaction with such jazz stalwarts as Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Max Roach, Erroll Garner, Howard McGhee and Dodo Marmarosa. This four-disc set is broken up into Hollywood Sessions 1: Moose the Mooche, Hollywood Sessions 2: Relaxin' at Camarillo, New York Sessions 1: Scrapple from the Apple, and New York Sessions 2: Drifting on a Reed. It's fortunate that these slices of jazz history are available allowing the listener to hear several takes of classics like "Moose the Mooch," "Relaxin at Camarillo," "Scrapple from the Apple," and "Ornithology" take shape. Sound quality on these Stash discs is good for the most part, fair but not great on others.
Charlie Parker was a pioneer of many of the elements and characteristics that make up the 'classic' BeBop sound, forever pushing the boundaries of tempo, tonality and improvisation beyond the limitations of his time. His influence is only too clear today, and is no better demonstrated than in this spectacular tribute performance. Phil Woods, Red Rodney, Rufus Reid, Roy Haynes and Monte Alexander perform their own collective tribute to the great improviser and composer in this very special live concert from Cannes, 1990.
Tribute concert to the great 'Bird' filmed in Paris in 1989, and featuring a stellar cast of the greats of jazz saxaphone. Artists featured include: Max Roach, Phil Woods, Percy Heath, Jackie Mclean, Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Milt Jackson and Dizzy Gillespie.
Anyone daunted by the expense of acquiring the 10-disc Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve may well have their prayers answered by this 2-CD distillation of the big box. It covers a wide stretch of material from Parker's career, going back to the first JATP concert in 1946 and stretching almost to the end of his Norman Granz period. ~ AllMusic
If you are interested in exploring Bird but are put off by the innumerable collections and packages, this might be the one for you. Most of the recordings are good quality or better, you get a flavor of CP's playing across forms that might surprise you, and the album has several gems that you'll want to listen to repeatedly. Culling a career, even a short one, into one meaningful disk is a thankless task but I feel Keepnews, who made this selection from his larger boxed set, has done a great job. If you start here, you may not stop, it's that good and it will let you appreciate why so many people keep pointing back to this player as a true musical giant. ~ Amazon