This collection of 78 rpm singles, all recorded on June 6, 1950, was originally issued in album format in 1956. Several things distinguish this from numerous other quintet recordings featuring these two bebop pioneers. It was recorded during the period that Parker was working under the aegis of producer Norman Granz, whose preference for large and unusual ensembles was notorious. The end result in this case is a date that sounds very much like those that Parker and Gillespie recorded for Savoy and Dial, except with top-of-the-line production quality. Even more interesting, though, is Parker's choice of Thelonious Monk as pianist.
A reissue of the original 1952 Clef recording session, this is one of the few instances in Charlie Parker's later career where he played with something other than a small bebop group. Under contract at the time to Clef's Norman Granz, Parker was encouraged by the label to make recordings that took him out of his familiar settings and put him in with string arrangements, Latin rhythms, and larger band formats. This recording is the result of one of these experiments. Though Joe Lipman's arrangements are stellar, the musicians assembled for the sessions are an odd mix of pop-oriented big-band players and improvisers.
Undoubtedly one of the best known sax players in the history of funk, predominantly through his work with James Brown ("Play, Maceo!"), Maceo Parker has had a spotty recorded solo career. His eighth album as a band leader finds the horn honker expanding his palette by aiming his instrument at smooth jazz and rap, while inviting fans Ani DiFranco, James Taylor (?!), and Prince to add superstar spice to his soul stew.
This four-CD set contains a somewhat streamlined presentation of Parker's complete known live broadcasts from New York's Royal Roost, dating during 1948 and 1949, augmented with five of the live September 29, 1947, Carnegie Hall recordings and one lower-quality tape made in Chicago during 1950…
This LP contains two broadcasts featuring Charlie Parker at Boston's Storyville club in 1953. one set finds him accompanied by the Red Garland Trio (two years before Garland became famous playing with Miles Davis) while the other one also features trumpeter Herb Pomeroy and a trio led by pianist Sir Charles Thompson. The recording quality is just so-so but Bird was in fine form for these sessions, playing hot versions of his usual repertoire.
Veteran Charlie Parker collectors generally know that they should avoid all but his most famous live sessions. It is not that Parker plays badly on this CD reissue (in fact his solo on "Confirmation" is quite miraculous) but, as is often the case with these privately recorded sets, the recording quality is horrible. Bird (with trumpeter Red Rodney, pianist Al Haig, bassist Tommy Potter, and drummer Roy Haynes) plays quite well but these versions only hint at what the music must have sounded like.