This Savoy double CD brings together in one package all of the label's sessions led by Harden, a talented young musician who turned up briefly, disappeared and is presumed to have died in the 1960s. It includes several alternate takes, giving ample evidence of his attractiveness as a player. He wrote all the pieces, which are more substantial than the on-the-spot "compositions" of many Savoy sessions of the '50s. Sometimes playing trumpet and sometimes rotary valve flugelhorn, he was capable of range, power and bursts of speed, but he built many of his solos on a base of restraint, lyricism and a certain wistfulness.
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.
The first recordings with small groups made for the Savoy label by one of the most fine trumpeters in moder jazz-wich replaced Miles Davis on Charlie Parker's combo and later became a founding member of The Jazz Messengers and Jazz Prophets. Only master takes.
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