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Various Artists: Birth of Be Bop (2003)

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The Savoy catalog has been sliced and diced in so many combinations over the years that yet another Savoy compilation might invite moans. Yet there is good news in this one disc bop overview. The remastering is the best ever, meaning that Tommy Potter's bass on Charlie Parker's live at the Royal Roost version of "Be Bop" is sketchy but present; Bird sounds fully dimensional.

The usual suspects appear – Gillespie, Navarro, Dexter Gordon – but there are also lesser knowns. There's a ravishing Boyd Raeburn arrangement of Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia" and an energetic piece by little heard baritone bopper Serge Chaloff. Ira Gitler did a finely detailed historical essay for the booklet, and the only big voices missing are Coleman Hawkins and Thelonious Monk (who is poorly served by a lame cover of "'Round Midnight" with Milt Jackson and John Lewis sounding like it's past their bedtime.). A fine bit of history attractively remastered and packaged, even if the material is very familiar for the long-time jazz fan.

Track Listing: 1. Be-Bop, 2. How High the Moon, 3. Hot House, 4. Little Willie Leaps, 5. 'Round About Midnight, 6. Wee Dot, 7. Opus de Bop, 8. Ray's Idea, 9. Boppin' A Riff, 10. Long Tall Dexter, 11. Ah-Leu-Cha, 12. O-Go-Mo, 13. El Sino, 14. Red Cross, 15. Garbadine and Serge, 16. Interlude (A Night in Tunisia).

Personnel: Charlie Parker, Don Byas, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Milt Jackson, Leo Parker, Stan Getz, Kenny Dorham, Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordan, Teddy Reig, Tiny Grimes, Serge Chaloff, Boyd Raeburn.

Record Label: Savoy Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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