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It is hard to settle down and write a well-measured review of any album that opens with "Salt Peanuts." The tune is so full of natural zest that it would even sound glorious played by an orchestra of kazoos. Predictably, the version that kicks off Parker's Mood does not disappoint and energizes the listener for the rest of the album.
Parker's Mood is saxophonist Stefano di Battista's tribute to Charlie Parker and, as such, features ten tracks either composed by or associated with Parker. It may be said that the disc is the aural equivalent of comfort foodit offers dependable pleasures on days when nerves are rubbed raw.
Aided by the estimable Kenny Barron on piano, di Battista lights into these chestnuts with a crisp, wide-awake attack. After the caffeinated rush of the aforementioned "Salt Peanuts," di Battista delicately orbits around the lovely core of "Embraceable You." These tracks remain close to Parker's original versions and achieve clarity of purpose through their straight-ahead approach.
There is a refreshingly reverent aura about the album. Di Battista and his band mates honestly approach the material to honor Parker rather than use him as a totem they can alter into unrecognizable shapes in order to explore their own egos. Parker's Mood is made with deep regard for its inspiration, and those good intentions have resulted in a highly entertaining album.
Track Listing: Salt Peanuts; Embraceable You; Night in Tunisia; Parker's Mood; Confirmation; Donna Lee; Laura; Hot House; Congo Blues; 'Round Midnight
Personnel: Stefano di Battista-alto and soprano saxophone; Kenny Barron-piano; Rosario Bonaccorso-bass; Herlin Riley-drums; Flavio Boltro-trumpet
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.