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Album Review

Jazz experts love to speculate on the types of music that Charlie Parker might have embraced had he not died in 1955. Had Bird lived to see the 1960s and 1970s, would he have embraced modal jazz, avant-garde jazz, soul-jazz, or fusion? Would he have played on Miles Davis' Bitches Brew if, in 1969, such an offer had been made? One can only speculate. What can be said for sure is that Bird's innovations have continued to inspire a wide variety of jazz musicians long after his death. Recorded in Monster, Holland, in 1988, Bluebird is among the numerous Parker tributes that has surfaced over the years. This bebop date was co-led by two American improvisers, vibist Dave Pike and alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, who are joined by a Dutch rhythm section that consists of pianist Rein de Graaff, bassist Koos Serierse, and drummer Eric Ineke. Not all of the musicians play on all of the tunes; McPherson is absent on "Ornithology," "Old Folks," and the first take of "Bluebird," and only the Dutch musicians are present on a second take of "Bluebird." The tracks that do feature McPherson speak well of him. McPherson has always been a Bird disciple, but being a disciple isn't the same as being a clone, and on this Dutch release, the altoist celebrates Bird's influence without trying to sound exactly like him. Nonetheless, few surprises occur on Bluebird; performances of well-known bop standards like "Scrapple From the Apple" and "Anthropology" are solid but conventional. No one will accuse either Pike or McPherson of trying to reinvent the wheel on this enjoyable, if predictable, CD.


Born: 23 March 1938 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Dave Pike has been a consistent vibraphonist through the years without gaining much fame. He originally played drums and is self-taught on vibes. Pike moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1954 and played with Curtis Counce, Harold Land, Elmo Hope, Dexter Gordon, Carl Perkins, and Paul Bley, among others. After moving to New York in 1960 he put an amplifier on his vibes. Pike toured with Herbie Mann during 1961-1964, spent 1968-1973 in Germany (recording with...
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Bluebird, Dave Pike
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