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The Genius of Charlie Parker

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Album Review

This special edition of The Genius of Charlie Parker was released in commemoration of the alto saxophonist's stint with the Savoy and Dial labels in the '40s, some 60 years prior. The studio sessions were issued under Parker's name with the exceptions of the Tiny Grimes Quintette ("Tiny's Tempo," 1944), the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Quintet ("Shaw 'Nuff," 1945), and the Miles Davis All Stars ("Sippin' at Bell's," 1947). While the studio sessions are marked by jaw-dropping ensemble interplay, the radio broadcasts, taken from live dates at the Royal Roost in New York in 1948 and 1949, show off distinctive, spontaneous brilliance, not only from Bird but from his cohorts as well. While the live broadcast recordings are a bit muddy, the state-of-the-art transfers from acetates and tape masters do brighten up these recommended, early bop sessions.


Born: August 29, 1920 in Kansas City, KS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

One of a handful of musicians who can be said to have permanently changed jazz, Charlie Parker was arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time. He could play remarkably fast lines that, if slowed down to half speed, would reveal that every note made sense. "Bird," along with his contemporaries Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell, is considered a founder of bebop; in reality he was an intuitive player who simply was expressing himself. Rather than basing his improvisations closely on the melody as was...
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