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Timeless: Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

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Album Review

Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was instrumental in tipping jazz over from the swing genre, which was predominantly a dance music, to bop, which aspired to art, an intellectual dance if you will, and this mid-'40s sea change began to alter the way audiences approached jazz, and pop music in general. The recordings included in this selection of Parker's classic Savoy sides were front and center in the change-over, and the first thing that hits is the frantic pace of most of these, although they are still ostensibly dance tracks, and the second thing that sticks out in tracks like "Donna Lee" is a re-establishment of the blues as a central thematic template. Bop would slow some as it evolved, and its links to dance would abate and all but vanish as things morphed into what became known as hard bop, but the blues connection would remain a ghostly constant. Sides like the gorgeous and edgy "Parker's Mood" prefigure the slower tempos and deliberate dissonance of hard bop a decade later. There are several different collections of Parker's Savoy period available, some of which are more inclusive than this one, but Timeless makes a nice and compact introduction to a brilliant musician during his finest period.

Customer Reviews

Koko

Bird fans might want to start here. These 17 songs were the blast that exploded the bebop revolution onto the swing-era music. Many were injured from this blast and some died. It's always that way with a revolution. I blame Coleman Hawkins, quite frankly. He encouraged (wisely) these neurotic nutballs to keep playing and practising and, well, you get the point. So, buy it. NOW. N O W. N O W!!!!!

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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