On this collection of songs, available for the first time on 180-gram vinyl, Charlie Parker literally JUMPS out of the speakers.
LP track list:
Music, as international language, is made more evident here as “Bird and Diz” recorded jazz, bebop and Cuban/South American rhythms. What is most remarkable about this collection is that many of the musicians learned from each other...there was no “School of Jazz.” Once you learned the basics you could apply the art of improvisation to any cultural trend. Even more remarkable is that when Charles “Bird” Parker Jr. flew, he not only broke the sound barrier but also achieved “escape velocity.”
Some say to get his sound on his alto sax he’d use a penknife to trim down a tenor reed. Not to be outdone, Dizzy had the bell of his horn accidentally raised so he could hear better of what came out the other end, and Ray Brown (on bass) would later use a bow to become part of The Oscar Peterson Trio.
Adaptability was, and is, the essence of jazz today. Other notable players featured here include John Lewis (piano), Kenny Clarke (drums), Woody Herman (clarinet), Red Rodney (trumpet), Kenny Drew (piano), and Art Blakey (drums).
This is an extremely exciting and exhilarating album.
(Formally of Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Nice, and Keith Emerson Trio)
If you play the saxophone with any amount of seriousness, especially the alto saxophone, you have no doubt come under the spell of THE single greatest saxophonist to ever play the instrument, Charlie Parker. Whether talking to legends like George Coleman or the players of today like Eric Alexander, they will cite Charlie Parker as their first and most important influence. It’s likely a combination of everything, but musicians will cite his rapid-fire, virtuosic technique; his pure, laser-beamed tone that could be both penetrating and sweet; or his extensive knowledge of harmony including rapid-passing chords, the use of altered chords, and chord substitutions. Charlie Parker was doing all of these things while being the face of a new musical movement that would alter jazz forever.
There is no sound more invigorating or exciting than that of Charlie Parker. Hearing him lift on “Dizzy’s Atmosphere” or taking the break on “A Night in Tunisia” never gets old. It’s a combination of what he plays, how he plays, and his incredible sound. Charlie Parker modernized the alto saxophone like no one before him, and no one has managed to redefine the way the instrument is played since Bird burst onto the scene in early 1940s.
On this collection of songs, available for the first time on 180-gram vinyl, Charlie Parker literally JUMPS out of the speakers. For a concert recording over 70 years old, the overall sound quality is respectable with Bird’s crystal-clear alto saxophone leading the way on a very compelling set. You get to hear Bird in his glory, flying over the changes with effortless mastery. No tempo is too much for him, no key is too difficult. The alto saxophone is a complete extension of him. He is a virtuoso.
This set covers a period of about nine years, roughly 1945 to 1954, shortly before his passing. The earlier recordings find Bird in his absolute prime and playing with his most frequent collaborator and fellow innovator, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. These two were the perfect foil for one another and you can hear how aligned they were musically when listening to them solo after one another. We also get to hear Bird with some other pretty significant musicians such as vibraphonist Milt Jackson, trumpeters Howard McGhee and Red Rodney, as well as an orchestra led by Stan Kenton and Woody Herman.
All in all, this is a wonderful collection of Charlie Parker recordings that is sure to delight even the casual fan of bebop, but also the full-on Bird aficionados who will find a lot to chew on here.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Cory Weeds is the owner of The Cellar Music Group, a record label that has released over 300 titles. In addition, he is an acclaimed saxophonist with numerous albums as a band leader and many more as a sideman.