This four-CD box set contains all of the recordings Charlie Parker made for the Savoy label and it is overflowing with gems and an almost countless number of alternate takes. Bird was one of the most important jazzmen of all time and nearly every note he recorded (in the studios if not live) is well worth hearing. This box starts off with his sideman date with Tiny Grimes in 1944, contains Parker's famous "Ko Ko" session of 1945 (with a young Miles Davis on trumpet and highlighted by "Now's the Time" and "Billie's Bounce"), and continues through his 1947-1948 quintet sessions with a more mature Miles Davis; either Bud Powell, John Lewis, or Duke Jordan on piano; bassists Tommy Potter, Curly Russell, or Nelson Boyd; and drummer Max Roach. Together they recorded such classics as "Donna Lee," "Chasin' the Bird," "Milestones," and "Parker's Mood." Every scrap that the great altoist cut for Savoy is in this box.
Taking as their inspiration the Greek myth of Orpheus, European improv king Evan Parker (tenor and soprano saxophone) and Invaders of the Heart alumni Clive Bell and Jean-Pierre Rasle invest in a series of stark, repetitive bass and drum structures on Passage to Hades. At the music's core is the rhythm axis of Jah Wobble and Mark Sanders. The duo maps out the territory, delivering all that's required and more through minimal means. It's a refreshing change of scenery for Parker, who's normally heard in avant-garde ensembles or blazing solo performances. Here, he's confined to a stark, muscular groove and he responds beautifully. Like the later recordings by John Coltrane (an early influence), the saxophonist unleashes an abundance of dialog on his instruments, though he never quite reaches the torrents of sound one might expect.