Charlie Parker

Bird Symbols

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The sound quality on this album of Parker's Dial mid-'40s Dial material lacks the precision and clarity of his later Verve sessions. Much of the original source material disappeared when Dial went out of business, and, from the remaining masters, a good deal has been lost in the subsequent transfer and re-issue. Still, barring some distortion and a kind of hollow, muffled quality, Parker is in superior form as an artist on these tracks. The mid-'40s seems to be the time Bird hit his stride, and these tracks serve as no subtle reminder that Parker was not only a great innovator, but an incredibly emotional and soulful player, a fact often overshadowed by his technical prowess.

These qualities are highlighted in the collection's ballads "Embracable You," "Out of Nowhere," and "Don't Blame Me," while breakneck bebop workouts are represented as well in "Moose the Mooche," "Bird's Nest" and the dizzying "Ornithology." Parker is joined by a young Miles Davis on many of these sessions, whose acerbic, forward-thinking style provides wonderful balance to Parker's fluid alto. While the sound quality may not be pristine, these are still fine performances; and of interest to Parker collectors searching for his harder-to-procure Dial sessions.

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