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Now's the Time

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Album Review

This 17-cut compilation covers Charlie Parker's early years with Savoy. All of this material has been released many times, and has even been packaged better. But it does serve a purpose in introducing some of the most seminal performances Charlie Parker and his bands committed to tape at the dawn of bebop. This budget-priced disc includes all master takes and some of the most seminal compositions in the history of jazz. While it's true the Dial period is not covered here, the years 1945-48 are represented by historic cuts like "Koko," "Billie's Bounce," "Donna Lee," "Chasin' the Bird," "Parker's Mood," and "Steeplechase," to name a few. The material is all by Bird. The earliest sides feature Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet — only on "Koko," and playing piano on a few cuts. Miles Davis enters the picture later in '45, in a band that included Max Roach, Bud Powell, and Tommy Potter. In 1947, pianists Duke Jordan and later John Lewis joined the band, as did bassist Curly Russell. Roach was in the band throughout, and after Gillespie's initial stint so was Davis. Now's the Time [Savoy Jazz] is recommended for the novice. For those who are interested in the breadth and depth of Parker's stays with Savoy and Dial, the three-disc Complete Savoy and Dial Master Takes is recommended.

Customer Reviews

These are the alternate takes!

Beware - the blurb is wrong - most of the performances on this CD are NOT the master takes. If you're new to Bird you should find a CD with the master takes first. If you're an Birdophile looking for old favorites, you may not find them here.


This album should be regarded as a classic, up there with Kind of Blue. It's just too bad Parker died so young without putting out even more excellent material. If you are a jazz fan, buy this!


Good performances from Parker and's too bad you can't hear the mates. The sax is mixed far too loud over the other instruments. I understand it's his name on the album, but this is still an ensemble performance. The band sounds like it's playing in another room. This ruins the enjoyment of the music for me. A lot of early jazz (and vocal music) suffers from this imbalance, creating the sense of "lead" versus "backing track". I find I constantly have to adjust the volume knob, turning it down every time the sax comes in, and back up for the other solos.


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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