is one of the most important musicians in jazz history and a household name even for people who never listen to jazz. His music is like a textbook for aspiring jazz musicians, and it still sounds modern even after more than a half century since its creation. 2020 marks the centennial of Parker's birth, and to help commemorate the anniversary, Craft Recordings has released a vinyl box set containing the first four "The New Sounds in Modern Music" series, featuring recordings from 1944-1948. Without question, this is essential listening for anyone who wants to get a taste of some of Parker's most influential sessions. As the liner notes say, these are "the breakthrough recordings that essentially defined bebop."
Of course, these recordings have been reissued many times over the years, so what makes this release so special? Well, there are a few points to consider...
First, the set contains exact replicas of the Savoy 10-inch album releases. Everything is precisely reproduced down to the last detail. As the liner notes mention, the producers "intentionally left any typographical errors intact for the sake of historical, rather than factual, accuracy." Just taking these discs out of their sleeves and putting them on a turntable is an experience you can't reproduce in a digital format.
Next, the sound quality is excellent. The tracks have been remastered, and each has impressive fidelity considering that they were originally recorded during the 1940s. Along with the overall sound, the songs are genuine classics. The set contains Parker standards such as "Billie's Bounce," Ko-Ko," "Now's the Time," and "Donna Lee," and he is accompanied by musicians such as Miles Davis
, Dizzy Gillespie
, Bud Powell
, Max Roach
and Tiny Grimes
Finally, the set contains a booklet with excellent liner notes by Grammy-winning writer, Neil Tesser. He not only provides background information into the recordings, but also discusses Parker's continued influence on contemporary artists.
Of course, some might wonder why these albums are being released on 10-inch discs rather than the more conventional 12-inch versions. Tesser explains that at the time these recordings originally came out, "the 10-inch records vastly outsold their larger cousins." Packaging the reissue albums in the original format seems to give a more authentic feel of the overall package.
For jazz vinyl collectors, this set is about as cool as it gets.