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CHARLIE PARKER

The Complete Charlie Parker -
Study & Radio Volume 8

Frémeaux & Associés FA 1338

 

 

CD1

1. Star Eyes

2. Blues

3. I’m In The Mood For Love

Charlie Parker Quartet

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Hank Jones - Piano

Ray Brown - Bass

Buddy Rich - Drums

4. Lament For Conga

5. Mambo Fortunato

Charlie Parker With Machito And His Afro-Cuban Orchestra

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Howard McGhee, Mario Bauza, Frank“Paquito”Davilla, Bob Woodlen - Trumpets

Gene Johnson, Fred Skerritt, Jose Madera, Frank Sokolow, Leslie Johnakins - Saxophones

René Hernandez - Piano

Roberto Rodriguez - Bass

Jose Mangual - Bongo

Luis Mirada - Conga

Umbaldo Nieto - Timbales

Frank “Machito” Grillo - Maracas

6. Bloomdido

7. An Oscar From Treadwell

8. An Oscar From Treadwell

9. Mohawk

10. Mohawk

11. My Melancholy Baby

12. Leap Frog

13. Leap Frog

14. Leap Frog

15. Relaxin’ With Lee

16. Relaxin’ With Lee

Charlie Parker And His Orchestra

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet

Thelonious Monk - Piano

Curley Russell - Bass

Buddy Rich - Drums

17. I Can’t Get Started

Charlie Parker Quartet

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Bernie Leighton - Piano

Ray Brown - Bass

Buddy Rich - Drums

CD2

1. 52nd Street Theme

2. Annonce

3. Just Friends I

4. Annonce

5. April In Paris I

6. A Night In Tunisia

7. 52nd Street Theme

8. Annonce

9. Just Friends II

10. Annonce

11. April In Paris II

12. Medley I Bewitched/Summertime

13. Medley II I Cover The Waterfront/Gone With The Wind

14. Easy To Love

15. Medley III What’s New/It’s The Talk Of The Town

16. Moose The Moche/52nd Street Theme

Charlei Parker Quintet

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Kenny Dorham - Trumpet

Al Haig - Piano

Tommy Potter - Bass

Roy Haynes - Drums

Tony Scott - Clarinet ( track 16 only)

17. Lover Come Back To Me

18. 52nd Street Theme

Charlie Parker With The Tony Scott Quartet

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Tony Scott - Clarinet

Brew Moore - Tenor saxophone

Dick Hyman - Piano

Leonard Gaskin - Bass

Irv Kluger - Drums

CD3

1. Dancing In The Dark

2. Out Of Nowhere

3. Laura

4. East Of The Sun

5. They Can’t Take That Away From Me

6. Easy To Love

7. I’m In The Mood For Love

8. I’m In The Mood For Love

9. I’ll Remember April

Charlie Parker With Strings

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Joseph Singer - French horn

Edwin Brown - Oboe

Sam Caplan, Howard Kay, Sam Rand, Harry Melnikoff, Zelly Smirnoff - Violins

Isadore Zir - Viola

Maurice Brown - Cello

Verley Mills - Harp

Bernie Leighton - Piano

Ray Brown - Bass

Buddy Rich - Drums

10. Annonce/Repetition

11. What Is This Thing Called Love

12. Annonce/Easy To Love

13. Repetition

14. April In Paris

15. Easy To Love

16. What Is This Thing Called Love

17. What Is This Thing Called Love

Charlie Parker With Strings

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Tommy Mace - Oboe

Sammy Caplan, Al Feller, Stan Kraft - Violins

Dave Uchitel - Viola

Bill Bundy - Cello

Wallace McManus - Harp

Al Haig - Piano

Tommy Potter - Bass

Roy Haynes - Drums

18. What Is This Thing Called Love

19. April In Paris

20. Repetition

21. Easy To Love

22. Rocker

Charlie Parker With Strings

Charlie Parker - Alto saxophone

Tommy Mace - Oboe

Sam Caplan, Stan Karpenia, Teddy Blume - Violins

Dave Uchitel - Viola

Bill Bundy - Cello

Wallace McManus - Harp

Al Haig - Piano

Tommy Potter - Bass

Roy Haynes - Drums

Charlie Parker died on March 12, 1955. It is almost beyond belief that in the early years of the 21st century, that Charlie Parker continues to occupy such a prominent place the conscience of jazz aficionados. So much so, that earlier recorded material continues to be re-issued from a wide variety of original sources. Astoundingly, there were over 175 re-issues of Charlie Parker recordings in 2014. This intriguing combination from 1950 forms this 3 cd set issued by the French label Frémeaux & Associés.

By 1950, Charlie Parker’s saxophone style and his extraordinary command of his horn were fully formed and in many ways his fans had built a veneration for his music. His personal life, however, was a mess as he was increasingly dependent upon heroin and alcohol. This spilled over to his professional life as he exhibited eccentric behaviour on the bandstand, he missed club dates, and when he did show up, he was often late. Nevertheless he recorded prodigiously, in a variety of groups and formats whether with strings, big bands, or smaller configurations. Basically anything to keep the dollars flowing to feed his habits. Accordingly, not everything he recorded was top quality, and there is evidence of that in these sides.

CD1

The most interesting aspect of this CD is the sextet recording that has, in addition to Parker, Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Thelonious Monk on piano and Buddy Rich on drums. The latter name is unusual as Rich was never thought to be a bebop style drummer, and all the tunes save one, are by Parker and are bebop structured pieces. Consequently his efforts are somewhat out of sync with what was required to support the band. Additionally, at this time, Thelonious Monk was just an unknown pianist who was still a long way from developing his unique piano technique. No matter, because Monk’s piano is kept in the background, offering supporting comping to the key players, Bird and Diz. Nevertheless, the session is still unique as it was the last time that Bird and Diz recorded together in a studio, and the only occasion that they recorded with Monk. As for their efforts, they both were first rate with Dizzy in his usual flamboyant mode and Parker in complete control of his instrument. Bloomdido is a blues that ricochets back and forth between Bird and Diz with strong solos from each with Diz on muted horn. An Oscar For Treadwell is based on the chord changes from I Got Rhythm as is Leap Frog. Both are simple lines that are frames for the front line to work out solo time which they do with exuberance. Despite some minor drawbacks, it is still a sparkling session.

CD2

Suffice it to say that this cd is mostly a disappointment on several fronts. Firstly, the sound quality is quite bad as it originated as a radio broadcast from Café Society which was privately recorded and no amount of engineering could enhance it. Secondly, while the band that Parker lead for this engagement was his working outfit, they did not sound in top form for this particular session apart from a couple of tracks. One of those was A Night In Tunisia written by Dizzy Gillespie which has an opening that features two trumpeters. The liner notes has Kenny Dorham on trumpet, but some discographies also show Red Rodney participating and that appears to be the case here. The two players dominate the offering with Parker only coming in for a few bars at the end.

The most interesting tracks of the Café Society sessions are Moose The Mooche where clarinetist Tony Scott joins the Parker band and Lover Come Back To Me where Parker joins the Tony Scott Quartet. Scott was a bop-oriented clarinetist with a very distinctive playing style that featured dissonant note selection using the instrument’s upper register. Although he was a facile improvisor, he was an acquired taste and had limited acceptance among the jazz listening community. Nevertheless he and Parker seems to find a musical accommodation and these two tracks provide some worthwhile improvisations by both players.

Finally a brief word about the venue for these sessions, Café Society New York City. Founded by Barney Josepheson at the end of 1938, it was the first integrated night club in the city. As a result, it became a gathering spot for jazz-lovers, artists and intellectuals. With the club’s policy of hiring entertainers regardless of colour, it helped foster the careers of Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Teddy Wilson, Charlie Parker, and Alberta Hunter among others.

CD3

This cd is entirely Charlie Parker with strings. One section is a studio recording, and the other two are live recordings, one of which comes from the Apollo Theatre with somewhat iffy sound, and the other from Carnegie Hall with slightly better sound, but only just. The studio session picks up from Parker’s 1949 recording with strings that had Mitch Miller on oboe and featured Parker’s version of Just Friends which caught on with the general record-buying public and thus made money for Mercury Records. Believing they had a good thing on their hands, the label did another session in 1950, but with without Miller on oboe. Although this album did not generate the sales of the previous issue, Parker’s alto playing shone though the soupy strings with stellar versions of Dancing In The Dark, Laura East Of The Sun and Ill Remember April.

In an effort to capitalize on the studio recordings, Parker fronted a string section for a couple live outings. Although Parker’s own efforts were reasonably well-recorded, the string section shared a single microphone and thus were reduced to somewhat mushy sound. The tune selection for these live performances was almost identical to the studio recordings. Hence Parker’s improvisations mirrored those of the studio sessions, since the strings needed to adhere to the written arrangements and Parker’s solo space was governed by this constraint. There are a couple of exceptions, namely Neil Hefti’s Repetition and Gerry Mulligan’s Rocker. Since both these compositions did not have a popular song structure, Parker took advantage of this and his improvisations were more reflective of jazz sensibilities.

There are some nice bits and bobs in this box set, but only for diehard Charlie Parker aficionados.

Pierre Giroux



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