This second installment in the Classics Charlie Parker chronology contains quite a number of Bird's best-loved and most respected recordings. The first 12 tracks, recorded in New York for the Dial label in October and November of 1947, are all masterpieces of modern music, with the ballads, especially "Embraceable You," constituting some of Parker's very best recorded work. This is the classic 1947 quintet with Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach. Even if his personal life was characteristically chaotic, 1947 was a good year for Charlie Parker's music. It was in November 1947 that this band hit the road to play the El Sino Club on St. Antoine Boulevard in Detroit. Unfortunately, Bird got really snockered and couldn't perform, so the El Sino management canceled the gig. Bird ultimately destroyed his saxophone by throwing it out of a hotel window onto the street below. (A tragic and disturbing image!) Back in New York, the band – now a sextet with the addition of trombonist J.J. Johnson – made six more sides for Dial on December 17, 1947.
This three-CD box set contains all of the recordings Charlie Parker made for the Savoy label and it is overflowing with gems and an almost countless number of alternate takes. Bird was one of the most important jazzmen of all time and nearly every note he recorded (in the studios if not live) is well worth hearing. This box starts off with his sideman date with Tiny Grimes in 1944, contains Parker's famous "Ko Ko" session of 1945 (with a young Miles Davis on trumpet and highlighted by "Now's the Time" and "Billie's Bounce"), and continues through his 1947-1948 quintet sessions with a more mature Miles Davis; either Bud Powell, John Lewis, or Duke Jordan on piano; bassists Tommy Potter, Curly Russell, or Nelson Boyd; and drummer Max Roach. Together they recorded such classics as "Donna Lee," "Chasin' the Bird," "Milestones," and "Parker's Mood." Every scrap that the great altoist cut for Savoy is in this box.
This four-CD set contains a somewhat streamlined presentation of Parker's complete known live broadcasts from New York's Royal Roost, dating during 1948 and 1949, augmented with five of the live September 29, 1947, Carnegie Hall recordings and one lower-quality tape made in Chicago during 1950…
This LP contains two broadcasts featuring Charlie Parker at Boston's Storyville club in 1953. one set finds him accompanied by the Red Garland Trio (two years before Garland became famous playing with Miles Davis) while the other one also features trumpeter Herb Pomeroy and a trio led by pianist Sir Charles Thompson. The recording quality is just so-so but Bird was in fine form for these sessions, playing hot versions of his usual repertoire.
Veteran Charlie Parker collectors generally know that they should avoid all but his most famous live sessions. It is not that Parker plays badly on this CD reissue (in fact his solo on "Confirmation" is quite miraculous) but, as is often the case with these privately recorded sets, the recording quality is horrible. Bird (with trumpeter Red Rodney, pianist Al Haig, bassist Tommy Potter, and drummer Roy Haynes) plays quite well but these versions only hint at what the music must have sounded like.
1985 Japanese edition of a classic featuring Terumasa Hino on trumpet and Sadao Watanabe on alto sax, recorded live at Ginza Yamaha Hall, Tokyo on March 15, 1969.