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The spirit of Charlie "Bird" Parker continues in recent recordings from the deconstructed interpretations of Anthony Braxton's Charlie Parker Project to the modern techno-manipulation of Bird Up! The Charlie Parker Remix Project. Now saxophonist Stefano Di Battista brings listeners a more straight-ahead tribute to the founder of bebop. While the true magic of Parker's music can only be imitated, Battista does an admirable job of capturing the essence of classic swing on this new recording.
Both purists and progressives may find something to enjoy here as Battista and two longtime associates, bassist Rosario Bonaccorso and trumpeter Flavio Boltro, are joined by two special guests, pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Herlin Riley. The band is tight, but in the end it's all about Battista's horn as he plays with his familiar voice marked by serious chops, speed, and control.
For those who enjoy their Bird straight, the quartet stays true to form on ten covers which never stray too far from the original versions. Though the selections may be all too familiar, there are bright moments, such as the smoldering solos on "Salt Peanuts" and the nice swinging flow on one of jazz's most recorded classics, "Night In Tunisia." Baron comps and solos nicely on "Parker's Mood," while the most fun comes in the "Hot House," with a sweet horn vamp supported by a nice bossa rhythm where Riley's drums simply shine. This may be just another Parker tribute, and you've probably gone there before, but it's still a nice trip as Battista and his quartet simply have a grand time expressing Parker's mood.
Track Listing: 1. Salt Peanuts;
2. Embraceable You;
3. Night In Tunisia;
4. Parker's Mood;
6. Donna Lee;
8. Hot House;
9. Congo Blues;
10. 'Round Midnight.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.