Does the jazz market need yet another recapitulation of Charlie Parker book?
Absolutely. One can never hear too much Charlie Parker, particularly as lovingly assembled as Birds of a Feather—A Tribute to Charlie Parker.
What makes this release special is that esteemed drummer, Roy Haynes, who as a teenager performed in Parker-led groups between 1949 and 1952. This was the period of eruption in Be Bop, which had been percolating for number of years. Haynes, who was born in Roxbury, Maine in 1926, was a member of the Parker groups that produced Charlie Parker With Strings, South of the Border, Charlie Parker at Storeyville, and Confirmation. Bird was merely the beginning for Haynes. He went on to play with most every major players of the past fifty years. Clifford Brown, Kenny Barron, Count Basie, Kenny Burrell, Dave Brubeck, Gary Burton, Jaki Byard and those are just the "Bs" (the "Cs" contain Ray Charles and John Coltrane). His bone fides are bona fide.
For his tribute, Mr. Haynes has assembled a respectable group of younger players through which to focus his vision of the great alto saxophonist. Kenny Garrett capable holds the alto chair while Roy Hargrove reprises his Bird love letter, Parker's Mood. Dave Holland adds his expansive durability and intellectual approach while Dave Kikoski provides the piano. The sonics as well as the performance are pristine and crystalline. The selections smack of a standard fare: "April in Paris," "Yardbird Suite," and "Moose the Mooch." But included are some unexpected pleasures. Gerry Mulligan's "Rocker" and a Latin "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." While most of the performances are pretty straight ahead, Haynes taffy-stretches "Now's the Time" into a form that proves that jazz also conforms to the theory of special relativity. Also, the gem "Ah-Leu-Cha" finally makes some sense with the group combining both Bird's and Miles Davis's approaches and then slowing the whole shooting match down to where the schizophrenic jazz counterpoint can be teased into its atomic elements.
This recording is worth its purchase price for no other reason that "Now's The time" and "Ah-Lue-Cha" reveal the true nature and sense of humor of jazz. Roy Haynes if 75 plus years old and keeps time like a Swiss watch. Birds of a Feather is no hallow tribute. It is a necessary and production reconsideration of the Parker Canon, with everybody smiling.
Diverse; Ah Leu Cha; April In Paris; Moose The Mooch; Now's The Time; Rocker; Barbados; Yardbird Suite; The Gypsy; My Heart Belongs To Daddy; What Is This Thing Called Love. (Total Time: 76:50).
Roy Haynes: Drums; Kenny Garrett: Alto Saxophone; Roy Hargrove: Trumpet; Dave Holland: Bass; Dave Kikoski: Piano.