Charlie Parker: Be Bop Live

Mark Corroto By

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Charlie Parker: Be Bop Live
The name of the record label is ezz-thetics, which was also a composition by George Russell and an album of the same name (which featured Eric Dolphy) released by Riverside Records in 1961. Maybe a better moniker for the label is "Lest We Forget." Not that we could ever abandon Charlie Parker, but today when streaming services replace CDs and LPs, which also replaced 78s and live radio broadcasts (the streaming service of its day), Parker has the possibility of being neglected. Don't believe it? When was the last time you listened to or summoned the music of Parker, Howard McGhee, Pepper Adams, or Tony Fruscella? Among others the music of Parker devotee Frank Morgan is sadly out of print. Maybe that is why the ezz-thetics remastered releases are so vital. We need to be reminded of the genius that was Parker and also Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Marion Brown, Jimmy Giuffre, and Albert Ayler. On the heals of ezz-thetics' rerelease of the Dial studio recordings The Birth Of BeBop: Celebrating Bird At 100 Vol. 1 (2020) and Savoy sessions The Birth Of BeBop: Celebrating Bird At 100 Vol. 2 (2020), these 30 tracks on two discs celebrate Parker's live music from 1945-49. These radio broadcasts were recorded from dates at the Royal Roost, Town Hall, and Carnegie Hall in New York City with an array of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Max Roach, and Roy Haynes, all of whom survived Parker (1920-1955) and carried forward the torch of bebop.

You may ask, who needs five versions of Parker's "Be Bop," five of Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" or four takes of "Scrapple From The Apple"? The answer is, we all do. The multiple takes reinforce the feeling of ferocity which the musicians deliver on these compositions. Played at near breakneck speeds, you can compare takes of "Salt Peanuts" with trumpet chair swapped between Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, and Dizzy Gillespie, who is credited along with Kenny Clarke with authoring the tune. Parker's performances here are truly amazing, as he was on top of his revolutionary sound in this period. By remastering the tapes, this 139 minutes of music is like manna from heaven. Unlike the Biblical food supplied to the Israelites in the wilderness, this music is more urbane, but just as nourishing.

Track Listing

CD 1:
Groovin' High; Big Foot; Ornithology; Hot House; Salt Peanuts; Chasin' the Bird; Out of Nowhere; Scrapple from the Apple; Be Bop; Hot House; Oop Bop Sh'bam; Scrapple from the Apple; Barbados; Salt Peanuts.
CD 2:
Scrapple from the Apple; Barbados; Be Bop; Groovin' High; Confirmation; Salt Peanuts; Ornithology; Cheryl; KoKo; Bird of Paradise; Now's the Time; Be Bop; A Night in Tunisia; Salt Peanuts.


Charlie Parker: saxophone, alto; Don Byas: saxophone, tenor; Dizzy Gillespie: trumpet; Miles Davis: woodwinds; Kenny Dorham: trumpet; Red Rodney: trumpet; Al Haig: piano; Tommy Potter: bass, acoustic; Curley Russell: bass, acoustic; Max Roach: drums; Roy Haynes: drums.

Album information

Title: Be Bop Live | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Ezz-thetics

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