Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes
Verve | 1 CD | recorded March 1963 | 1995 editionFrom Jazziz
In the 1940s, Norman Granz was a jazz visionary in several ways; one of these was his incorporation of strings into a variety of recordings. Granz ultimately attracted some of the best jazz artists of the era (and of all time). He managed a yet-to-be-duplicated balance of commercialism and risk-taking, of business and art, that led to the recording of some of jazz's landmark recordings. Charlie Parker With Strings (now on Verve, originally on Clef) is generally acknowledged as the first release to feature a jazz soloist backed by violins. It was just the beginning. Arguably the greatest improviser of all time, Charlie Parker was reputed to have been interested in doing a strings album for years. Granz gave him the opportunity to do it, with strings arranged and conducted by Jimmy Carroll (who was working for Granz at the time). Bird's album was monumental in more than the fact that he added strings - it was also an album of all standards, with Parker clearly stating each melody. "Just Friends" became Parker's biggest-selling single and the record of which he was said to have been most proud.
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