Various Artists

5 Birds & A Monk

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For this set six different saxophonists are featured separately on one jazz standard apiece (five by Charlie Parker and one by Thelonious Monk), thus the title of this out-of-print LP. With pianist Stanley Cowell, either Cecil McBee or John Heard on bass and drummer Roy Haynes providing the backup, the lead voices are all heard in top form. Johnny Griffin romps through "Billie's Bounce," John Klemmer comes up with some fresh things to say on "'Round Midnight," Joe Farrell jams "Confirmation," Art Pepper uplifts "Yardbird Suite," Joe Henderson (backed by just Heard and Haynes) explores "Relaxin' at Camarillo" and Harold Land tears into "Bloomdido." The music is mostly pure modern bebop and the distinctive saxophonists (pity that they could not have played one song all together) are all in excellent form. This is one to search for, particularly since only Pepper's performance at this date has been reissued on CD.