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The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes

Charlie Parker

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Album Review

Through the miracle of high-resolution digital transfer and mastering technology, Bird enthusiasts can now get an earful of the shape of Charlie Parker's musical accomplishments for Savoy and Dial in the 1940s. Available as a three-disc box set, the alto saxophonist is recorded in various configurations as performer and bandleader with such mainstream jazz greats as trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, pianists Bud Powell and Erroll Garner, drummer Max Roach, trombonist J.J. Johnson, and bassist Ray Brown, to name but a few. Charlie Parker draws on his pungent roots and rhythms of the Kansas City jazz scene on "Parker's Mood" and makes a deep statement of the existence of the blues in the jazz tradition. His freedom and rapid-fire sax lines on "Yardbird Suite" serve to confirm his excellence in crafting polished improvisations and solos. One of Parker's strongest compositions, "Orinithology," is pure, unadulterated bebop, and the unique sound of Parker's alto saxophone is clearly articulated through smoothly executed phrasings and cutting, focused energy. Parker picks up the tenor saxophone with the Miles Davis All-Stars on such great songs as "Milestones" and "Sippin' at Bell's." Overall, Bird audiophiles, jazz educators, and historians should be prepared to be impressed. This collection is arguably Bird's most important recording studio work.

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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