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Bird: The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker

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Album Review

Bird: The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker is a compilation of 12 tracks recorded by Charlie Parker during his years with the Verve label. The CD isn't in chronological order or even comprehensive enough to deem it a "best of." That is not to say that this album doesn't contain some phenomenal recordings; it does. Bird features some of Parker's best, including "Now's the Time," "Blues for Alice," and "K.C. Blues" (the latter is a collaboration with Miles Davis). In addition to the 11 studio tracks, it also has a 12-minute live version of "Lester Leaps In" which features the tune's composer, Lester Young. Since most Charlie Parker fans will have these songs on other discs, they can probably skip this one. However, this is a decent place to start for those looking for an introduction to Parker or bebop.

Biography

Born: 29 August 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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