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Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948 (2002)

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Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948 No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Tracking the genuine Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker has proven to be an elusive task. But the journey has been a rewarding experience, never mind the fact I never arrived at my destination. Note to so-called ‘Bird experts,’ I don’t claim to present any valuable insights into Charles Parker, Jr. born August 29, 1920, died March 12, 1955. You either own this compilation or are soon to make that purchase. The facts Bird-watcher need to know are these: The eight-CDs, 216 tracks comprise the complete studio (obviously live and radio broadcast sessions omitted) output of Charlie Parker for the small competing labels Dial and Savoy. This also includes his sideman work on the even smaller labels Comet, Bel-Tone, and Musicraft. Reissue producer Orrin Keepnews elicited the services of the Denon Digital plant in Madison, Georgia to clean the original acetates and remaster the original recordings at the correct speed, thus obtaining an accurate pitch. In fact, the original issuance of this boxset had a defective disc of dubious pitch, which Mr. Keepnews has remedied. I certainly expect those ornithologists out there, who spent a night camped out by their local record store, to have caught this error, or missing it have been ceremonially stripped of their title. Kidding aside, the cleanup of the originals has produced the finest sound these sides have obtained to date.

For those of less than orthodox devotion to Parker, there are several introductions available for beginners including Yardbird Suite: The Ultimate Charlie Parker Collection (1997) from Rhino records that in 2-discs gives a good overview of Parker’s career from beginning to end. When you survey Parker’s recordings (that number approximately 1,400) they fall into three distinct recording collections: his work with Savoy, Dial, and Verve. Most others are radio broadcasts or those done by Bird-fanatics like Dean Benedetti whose 277 performances (7-disc collection on Mosaic Records) are mostly partial takes of Parker’s solos and are only for the truly devoted. Verve has packaged and repackaged Parker’s greatest hits and their one and two-disc collections introduce Parker’s work from 1946-1954.

Besides the recording output of Charlie Parker what is known about him has been subject to much controversy and speculation. As preparation for this release I read or reread several book including Bird Lives! by Dial Records owner Ross Russell, Gary Giddins Celebrating Bird: The Triumph Of Charlie Parker, and a collection of articles, reviews, and interviews by editor Carl Woideck entitled The Charlie Parker Companion. What is undisputed are the basic facts of Parker’s life. What remains a mystery is where the genius that is Bird came from. Maybe that mystery is the explanation for his genius. All other questions seem never to be answered sufficiently, was he the greedy Son-of-a-bitch that Miles Davis claimed in his autobiography or a jazz prophet and saint as many avow?

One of the freshest takes on the Parker enigma is by Canadian poet Martin Gray. His Blues For Bird did for me through poetry what thousands of pages couldn’t do, that is convey the facts and mystery of Parker as if I were reading The beatitudes. Gray’s twelve books, from “Charlie’s Childhood Dreams” to “Bird’s Memorial” inform us of the Parker riddle through fact, conjecture, and quotes. Arranged in basically a chronological order, the nearly 300 page narrative should be dubbed the ‘Bird Bible.’ Gray writes:

Hearing Tatum play

Parker wondered if

a saxophone could sound

so quick and accurate

as Tatum on the keys

repeating Tatum’s skill

would be a major thing.

The sax was versatile

a fluid instrument

and more expressive than

anything you struck.

The note when it was hit

ended at that point

while the solid sound of horn

enabled you to bend

or gently color it.

In the end what we can accurately discover about Parker comes from recordings. These sides made between the years 1944 – 1948 are Bird at the height of his amazing talents. As we begin you can feel him accelerating talent wise. By the last session in September 1948 he is in full flight, but looking back it was surely a bumpy road. Disc one begins with Parker as sideman in Tiny Grimes Quintette. The significant track might just be Bird’s composition “Red Cross” with it’s thoroughly modern playing. He is also found as sideman on several sessions here, including dates with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Slim Gaillard, and Red Norvo. Parker, along with Dizzy and Thelonious Monk, are destined to be noted as the primary architects of bebop, a sound as revolutionary to music as Louis Armstrong’s trumpet innovations. Like Satchmo, a first glance at Parker’s music may yield shock and disfavor. Knowing the language of jazz is a required element to digging this music. Between the two, Parker and Gillespie may have recorded the perfect bebop tune with their rendition of “KoKo.” It was based on the changes of “Cherokee,” and for financial reasons (nobody wanted to pay for the rights to use the composition) Parker altered the tune to create “KoKo.” His solo encapsulated an entire era of music with the perfect solo.

Also included is the Parker “Lover Man” session in Hollywood 1946, where he was so strung out on chemicals he collapse after soloing. What comes through this session, with the great trumpeter Howard McGhee, is Parker’s soul. The music is almost painful in parts, but what we treasure is the human side of Parker. His frailty and weakness are an intricate part of his attraction, just as the painful final recordings of Bill Evans, John Coltrane, or Chet Baker.

But this collection is much more than those famous dates. There are the early recordings of Miles Davis, glimpses at Max Roach, John Lewis, and Bud Powell. The other masterpieces heard here are “Ornithology,” Billie’s Bounce,” “Now’s The Time,” “Parker’s Mood,” “Scrapple From The Apple” and “Klactoveesedstene.” Whether you have memorized Parker’s sessions or are just beginning to comprehend his contributions to jazz, this collection must be part of any serious study of the evolution of jazz.

Track Listing: Disc 1: 1. Tiny's Tempo - 3 - Charlie Parker Grimes, Tiny 2:55; 2. I'll Always Love You Just The Same - 2 - Charlie Parker Grimes, Tiny 3:01; 3. Romance Without Finance - 5 - Charlie Parker Grimes, Tiny 3:03; 4. Red Cross - 2 - Charlie Parker, Charlie 3:10; 5. Tiny's Tempo - 1 - Charlie Parker Grimes, Tiny 3:02; 6. Tiny's Tempo - 2 Grimes, Tiny 3:02; 7. I'll Always Love You Just The Same - 1 Grimes, Tiny 2:59; 8. Romance Without Finance - 1 Grimes, Tiny 3:08; 9. Romance Without Finance - 2 (Incomplete Take) Grimes, Tiny 1:02; 10. Romance Without Finance - 3 Grimes, Tiny 3:09; 11. Romance Without Finance - 4 (Incomplete Take) Grimes, Tiny 0:45; 12. Red Cross - 1 Parker, Charlie 3:17; 13. Groovin' High Gillespie, Dizzy 2:44; 14. All The Things You Are Hammerstein, Oscar 2:49; 15. Dizzy Atmosphere Gillespie, Dizzy 2:49; 16. Salt Peanuts Gillespie, Dizzy 3:18; 17. Shaw 'Nuff Gillespie, Dizzy 3:02; 18. Lover Man Ramirez, Ram 3:25; 19. Hot House Dameron, Tadd 3:12; 20. Warmin' Up A Riff - 1 Parker, Charlie 2:36; 21. Billie's Bounce - 5 Parker, Charlie 3:09; 22. Now's The Time - 4 Parker, Charlie 3:16; 23. Thrivin' From A Riff - 3 Parker, Charlie 2:56; 24. Meandering - 1 Parker, Charlie 3:18; 25. KoKo - 2 Parker, Charlie 2:53. Disc 2: 1. Billie's Bounce - 1 - Charlie Parker's Reboppers Parker, Charlie 2:43; 2. Billie's Bounce - 2 (Incomplete Take) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers Parker, Charlie 1:44; 3. Billie's Bounce - 3 - Charlie Parker's Reboppers Parker, Charlie 3:07; 4. Billie's Bounce - 4 (Incomplete Take) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers Parker, Charlie 1:39; 5. Now's The Time - 1 (False Start) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers Parker, Charlie 0:21; 6. Now's The Time - 2 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:38; 7. Now's The Time - 3 Parker, Charlie 3:08; 8. Thrivin' On A Riff - 1 Parker, Charlie 3:00; 9. Thrivin' On A Riff - 2 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 0:24; 10. KoKo - 1 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:39; 11. Dizzy's Boogie Gaillard, Bulee " 3:09; 12. Flat Foot Floogie Gaillard, Sam 2:32; 13. Poppity Pop Gaillard, Bulee " 2:57; 14. Slim's Jam Gaillard, Bulee " 3:15; 15. Dizzy's Boogie Parker, Charlie 3:14; 16. Flat Foot Floogie Parker, Charlie 2:46; 17. Diggin' Diz Handy, George 2:53; 18. Moose The Mooche - 2 Parker, Charlie 3:03; 19. Yardbird Suite - 4 Parker, Charlie 2:55; 20. Ornithology - 4 Parker, Charlie 3:01; 21. A Night In Tunisia - 5 Gillespie, Dizzy 3:05; 22. Moose The Mooche - 1 Parker, Charlie 2:59; 23. Moose The Mooche - 3 Parker, Charlie 2:55; 24. Yardbird Suite - 1 Parker, Charlie 2:39; 25. Ornithology - 1 Parker, Charlie 2:59; 26. Ornithology - 3 Parker, Charlie 3:18; 27. A Night In Tunisia - 1 (Incomplete Take) Gillespie, Dizzy 0:50; 28. A Night In Tunisia - 4 Gillespie, Dizzy 3:02. Disc 3: 1. Max Making Wax - A - Charlie Parker Quintet Pettiford, Oscar 2:30; 2. Lover Man - A - Charlie Parker Quintet Ramirez, Ram 3:19; 3. The Gypsy - A - Charlie Parker Quintet Reid, Billy 3:01; 4. Bebop - A - Charlie Parker Quintet Gillespie, Dizzy 2:53; 5. Blues On The Sofa (Blues #1) - Charlie Parker, Charlie 0:46; 6. Kopely Plaza Blues (Blues #2) Parker, Charlie 1:03; 7. Yardbird Suite Parker, Charlie 2:14; 8. Lullaby In Rhythm, Part 1 Sampson, Edgar 1:29; 9. Lullaby In Rhythm, Part 2 Sampson, Edgar 1:33; 10. Home Cooking II: Cherokee Noble, Ray 2:09; 11. Home Cooking III: I Got Rhythm Gershwin, George 2:28 12. Home Cooking I: Opus McKusick, Hal 2:24; 13. This Is Always - C Gordon, Mack 3:12; 14. Dark Shadows - C Henry, Shifty 3:07; 15. Bird's Nest - C Parker, Charlie 2:45; 16. Cool Blues - C Parker, Charlie 3:05; 17. This Is Always - D Gordon, Mack 3:10; 18. Dark Shadows - A Henry, Shifty 4:04; 19. Dark Shadows - B Henry, Shifty 3:14; 20. Dark Shadows - D Henry, Shifty 2:58; 21. Bird's Nest - A Parker, Charlie 2:51; 22. Bird's Nest - B Parker, Charlie 2:50; 23. Cool Blues - A (Hot Blues/Blowtop Blues) Parker, Charlie 1:57; 24. Cool Blues - B (Blowtop Blues) Parker, Charlie 2:22; 25. Cool Blues - D Parker, Charlie 2:47. Disc 4: 1. Relaxin' At Camarillo - C - Charlie Parker's New Stars Parker, Charlie 3:01; 2. Cheers - D - Charlie Parker's New Stars McGhee, Howard 2:59; 3. Carvin' The Bird - B - Charlie Parker's New Stars McGhee, Howard 2:43; 4. Stupendous - A - Charlie Parker's New Stars McGhee, Howard 2:54; 5. Relaxin' At Camarillo - A - Charlie Parker's New Stars Parker, Charlie 2:58; 6. Relaxin' At Camarillo - D Parker, Charlie 2:58; 7. Relaxin' At Camarillo - E Parker, Charlie 2:54; 8. Cheers - A McGhee, Howard 3:10; 9. Cheers - B McGhee, Howard 3:03; 10. Cheers - C McGhee, Howard 3:01; 11. Carvin' The Bird - A McGhee, Howard 2:44; 12. Stupendous - B McGhee, Howard 2:55; 13. Donna Lee - 5 Parker, Charlie 2:21; 14. Chasin' The Bird - 4 Parker, Charlie 2:32; 15. Cheryl - 1 & 2 (Take 1 False Start) Parker, Charlie 2:49; 16. Buzzy - 5 Parker, Charlie 2:19; 17. Donna Lee - 1 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:14; 18. Donna Lee - 2 Parker, Charlie 2:47; 19. Donna Lee - 3 Parker, Charlie 2:21; 20. Donna Lee - 4 Parker, Charlie 2:25; 21. Chasin' The Bird - 1 Parker, Charlie 2:41; 22. Chasin' The Bird - 2 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:19; 23. Chasin' The Bird - 3 Parker, Charlie 2:47; 24. Buzzy - 1 Parker, Charlie 2:46; 25. Buzzy - 2 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:32; 26. Buzzy - 3 Parker, Charlie 2:27; 27. Buzzy - 4 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:18. Disc 5: 1. Milestones - 2 - Charlie Parker Davis, Miles 2:37; 02. Little Willie Leaps - 3 - Charlie Parker Davis, Miles 2:51; 03. Half Nelson - 2 - Charlie Parker Davis, Miles 2:44; 04. Sippin' At Bell's - 2 - Charlie Parker Davis, Miles 2:23; 05. Milestones - 1 (False Start) - Charlie Parker Davis, Miles 0:08; 06. Milestones - 3 Davis, Miles 2:46; 07. Little Willie Leaps - 1 (Incomplete Take) Davis, Miles 0:35; 08. Little Willie Leaps - 2 Davis, Miles 3:10; 09. Half Nelson - 1 Davis, Miles 2:52; 10. Sippin' At Bell's - 1 (Incomplete Take) Davis, Miles 0:57; 11. Sippin' At Bell's - 3 (False Start) Davis, Miles 0:05; 12. Sippin' At Bell's - 4 Davis, Miles 2:28; 13. Dexterity - B Parker, Charlie 2:58; 14. Bongo Bop - A Parker, Charlie 2:45; 15. Dewey Square - C Parker, Charlie 3:06; 16. The Hymn - B Parker, Charlie 2:27; 17. Bird Of Paradise - C Parker, Charlie 3:11; 18. Embraceable You - B Gershwin, George 3:20; 19. Dexterity - A Parker, Charlie 2:57; 20. Bongo Bop - B Parker, Charlie 2:46; 21. Dewey Square - A Parker, Charlie 3:30; 22. Dewey Square - B Parker, Charlie 3:03; 23. The Hymn - A Parker, Charlie 2:30; 24. Bird Of Paradise - A Parker, Charlie 3:05; 25. Bird Of Paradise - B Parker, Charlie 3:07; 26. Embraceable You - A Gershwin, George 3:40. Disc 6: 1. Bird Feathers - C - Charlie Parker Quintet Parker, Charlie 2:50; 02. Klactoveesedstene - A - Charlie Parker Quintet Parker, Charlie 3:05; 03. Scrapple From The Apple - C - Charlie Parker Quintet Parker, Charlie 2:56; 04. My Old Flame - A - Charlie Parker Quintet Johnston, Arthur 3:09; 05. Out Of Nowhere - B - Charlie Parker Quintet Heyman, Edward 3:48; 06. Don't Blame Me - A Parker, Charlie 2:46; 07. Klactoveesedstene - B Parker, Charlie 3:05; 08. Scrapple From The Apple - B Parker, Charlie 2:38; 09. Out Of Nowhere - A Heyman, Edward 4:03; 10. Out Of Nowhere - C Heyman, Edward 3:03; 11. Drifting On A Reed - E Parker, Charlie 3:01; 12. Quasimado - B Parker, Charlie 2:58; 13. Charlie's Wig - E Parker, Charlie 2:45; 14. Bongo Beep - C Parker, Charlie 3:05; 15. Crazeology - D Harris, Benny 3:02; 16. How Deep Is The Ocean? - A Berlin, Irving 3:30; 17. Drifting On A Reed - B Parker, Charlie 2:57; 18. Drifting On A Reed - D Parker, Charlie 2:57; 19. Quasimado - A Parker, Charlie 2:56; 20. Charlie's Wig - B Parker, Charlie 2:50; 21. Charlie's Wig - D Parker, Charlie 2:50; 22. Bongo Beep - B Parker, Charlie 3:04; 23. Crazeology - A (Incomplete Take) Harris, Benny 1:04; 24. Crazeology - B (Incomplete Take) Harris, Benny 0:35; 25. Crazeology - C Harris, Benny 3:05; 26. How Deep Is The Ocean? - B Berlin, Irving 3:06. Disc 7: 1. Another Hair Do - 4 - Charlie Parker's All Stars Parker, Charlie 2:40; 02. Bluebird - 3 - Charlie Parker's All Stars Parker, Charlie 2:52; 03. Klaunstance - 1 - Charlie Parker's All Stars Parker, Charlie 2:43; 04. Bird Gets The Worm - 3 - Charlie Parker's All Stars Parker, Charlie 2:37; 05. Another Hair Do - 1 (Incomplete Take) - Charlie Parker's All Stars Parker, Charlie 0:17; 06. Another Hair Do - 2 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:46; 07. Another Hair Do - 3 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 1:06; 08. Bluebird - 1 Parker, Charlie 2:55; 09. Bird Gets The Worm - 1 Parker, Charlie 3:01; 10. Bird Gets The Worm - 2 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 0:13; 11. Barbados - 4 Parker, Charlie 2:28; 12. Au-Leu-Cha - 2 Parker, Charlie 0:53; 13. Constellation - 5 Parker, Charlie 2:29; 14. Parker's Mood - 5 Parker, Charlie 3:04; 15. Barbados - 1 Parker, Charlie 0:45; 16. Barbados - 2 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 2:35; 17. Barbados - 3 Parker, Charlie 0:38; 18. Au-Leu-Cha - 1 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:23; 19. Constellation - 1 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 2:33; 20. Constellation - 2 Parker, Charlie 2:07; 21. Constellation - 3 Parker, Charlie 0:23; 22. Constellation - 4 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:05; 23. Parker's Mood - 1 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 3:25; 24. Parker's Mood - 2 Parker, Charlie 0:12; 25. Parker's Mood - 3 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 2:14; 26. Parker's Mood - 4 Parker, Charlie 2:34; 27. Perhaps - 7 Parker, Charlie 2:44; 28. Marmaduke - 12 Parker, Charlie 3:12; 29. Steeplechase - 1 & 2 (Take 1 Incomplete) Parker, Charlie 2:24; 30. Merry Go Round - 2 Parker, Charlie 2:09. Disc 8: 1. Perhaps - 1 - Charlie Parker All Stars Parker, Charlie 0:29; 02. Perhaps - 2 (Incomplete Take) - Charlie Parker All Stars Parker, Charlie 2:09; 03. Perhaps - 3 - Charlie Parker All Stars Parker, Charlie 0:20; 04. Perhaps - 4 (Incomplete Take) - Charlie Parker All Stars Parker, Charlie 0:40; 05. Perhaps - 5 (Incomplete Take) - Charlie Parker All Stars Parker, Charlie 2:24; 06. Perhaps - 6 Parker, Charlie 0:05; 07. Marmaduke - 1 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 1:16; 08. Marmaduke - 2 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:53; 09. Marmaduke - 3 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 0:06; 10. Marmaduke - 4 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 2:57; 11. Marmaduke - 5 Parker, Charlie 0:07; 12. Marmaduke - 6 Parker, Charlie 1:00; 13. Marmaduke - 7 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 0:05; 14. Marmaduke - 8 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 3:06; 15. Marmaduke - 9 (False Start) Parker, Charlie 0:36; 16. Marmaduke - 10 Parker, Charlie 0:50; 17. Marmaduke - 11 (Incomplete Take) Parker, Charlie 2:24; 18. Merry Go Round - 1 (Incomplete Take) Robin, Leo 3:59; 19. Hallelujah - F Koehler, Ted 3:42; 20. Get Happy - D Norvo, Red 4:30; 21. Slam Slam Blues - B Norvo, Red 3:55; 22. Congo Blues - C Robin, Leo 4:11; 23. Hallelujah - A Robin, Leo 4:03; 24. Hallelujah - E Koehler, Ted 4:03; 25. Get Happy - B Norvo, Red 5:06; 26. Slam Slam Blues - A Norvo, Red 1:06; 27. Congo Blues - AA (Incomplete Take) Norvo, Red 1:17; 28. Congo Blues - BB (Incomplete Take) Norvo, Red 4:01; 29. Congo Blues - A Norvo, Red 3:54; 30. Congo Blues

Personnel: Nelson Boyd : Bass; Melvin Broiles : Trumpet; Bam Brown : Bass, Vocals; Ray Brown : Bass; Jimmy Bunn : Piano; Jimmy Butts : Bass; Red Callender : Bass; Sidney "Big Sid" Catlett : Drums; Cozy Cole : Drums; Earl Coleman : Vocals; Miles Davis : Trumpet; Arnold Fishkin : Bass; Slim Gaillard : Guitar, Piano, Vocals; Erroll Garner : Piano; Arv Garrison : Guitar; Dizzy Gillespie : Trumpet, Vocals; Wardell Gray : Sax (Tenor)Tiny Grimes : Guitar, Vocals; Al Haig : Piano; Sadik Hakim : Piano; George Handy : Piano; Clyde Hart : Piano; J.C. Heard : Drums; Duke Jordan : Piano; Barney Kessel : Guitar; Don Lamond : Guitar; Stan Levey : Drums; Dodo Marmarosa : Piano; Howard McGhee : Trumpet; Vic McMillan : Bass; Jack McVea : Sax (Tenor); Red Norvo : Vibraphone; Remo Palmieri : Guitar; Charlie Parker : Sax (Alto); Flip Phillips : Sax (Tenor); Roy Porter : Drums; Tommy Potter : Bass; Bud Powell : Piano; Specs Powell : Drums; Jimmy Pratt : Drums; Max Roach : Drums; Shorty Rogers : Trumpet; Curly Russell : Bass; Zutty Singleton : Drums; Slam Stewart : Bass; Lucky Thompson : Sax (Tenor); Sarah Vaughan : Vocals.

Record Label: Savoy Jazz

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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