Let's face it, there is absolutely nothing new to say about the music of Charlie Parker, unless (insert joke here) you happen to be Phil Schaap. Lao Tzu's quote "The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long" is fitting. John Coltrane was 40 when he died in 1967, Eric Dolphy 36 in 1964, and Clifford Brown died at 25 in 1956. Parker was dead at the age of thirty-five in 1955. His legend has grown larger with each new generation of jazz musicians and music fans. "Bird Lives" is still proclaimed in biographies, at the Charlie Parker Festival, and in the film Bird (1988) by Clint Eastwood. His innovative music has been dissected, transcribed into Real Books, and is a litmus test for anyone who picks up an alto saxophone. Stick a pin in the calendar circa 1945 and pinpoint when Bird changed the course of jazz history.
The question here is, when did you first hear the great American invention of Mr. Parkerbebop? For me it was on a scratchy mixtape cassette in the 1980s. For ezz-thethics label chief Werner X. Uehlinger, the 10-inch Dial recordings he heard in 1953 inspired him to reissue the music of Parker's Dial and Savoy recordings. Maybe more important than reissue, the music is remastered, as he has done with music from Marion Brown, Albert Ayler, and John Coltrane. Kudos to the CD remastering work of Pete Pfister here and with all the above artists' reissues.
These 2 disks comprise 23 selections from Parker's Savoy recordings from 1945-47 and 24 from his Dial recordings 1946-47. We hear a very young Miles Davis alongside bebop's co-creator Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, plus seemingly everyone that was present at the birth of bop. Although these 51 selections are just a fraction of the Parker discography, which includes alternative takes, false starts, radio broadcasts, and Dean Benedetti amateur tape recordings, they contain all the spark needed for the uninitiated. Maybe just as important for a veteran Bird fan. hearing "KoKo" take off like a rocket is like reliving one's own baptism into this crazy and beautiful music. Now's the time to celebrate Charlie Parker's centennial.
Savoy Sessions:- Billie's Bounce; Thriving From A Riff; Koko; Meandering; Donna Lee; Cheryl; Buzzy; Another Hair Do; Bluebird; Klaunstance; BirdGets The Worm; Barbados; Constellation; Parker’s Mood; Parker’s Mood (AT-2); Marmaduke; Steeplechase; Merry Go Round; A Night In Tunisia; Dizzy Atmosphere; Groovin’ High; Confirmation; Koko; Dial Sessions:- Moose The Mooche; Yardbird Suite; Ornithology; A Night In Tunisia; Bird’s Nest; Cool Blues; Relaxin’ At Camarillo; Dexterity; Bongo Bop; Dewey Square; The Hymn; Bird Of Paradise; Embraceable You; Bird Feathers; Klact-oveeseds-tene; Scrapple From The Apple; My Old Flame; Out Of Nowhere; Don’t Blame Me; Drifting On A Reed; Quasimodo; Charlie’s Wig; Bongo Beep; Crazeology.