Charlie Parker

Bird's Best Bop on Verve

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Another smart Verve compilation, BIRD'S BEST BOP focuses exclusively on small-group recordings Charlie Parker made between 1949 and 1953. Bird's in stellar company--"Bloomdido" and "Leap Frog," recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, come flying out of the speakers, crackling with energy. "K.C. Blues," with a young Miles Davis on trumpet, lets us hear Parker in a more gutbucket mood, while "The Song Is You," with the familiar rhythm section of Teddy Kotick and Max Roach, simply soars from start to finish. Jon Shapiro's succinct song-by-song analysis offers insights into the structural sources of Parker's compositions. With the exception of two standards, the material here is all Bird's, and includes essentials like "Au Privave," "Now's The Time," "Confirmation" and "Blues For Alice." An essay by Phil Woods conveys something of the life-transforming effect Parker had on an entire generation of young musicians, all of whom asked themselves the same thing when confronted with Bird's sound for the first time: "How could one man have turned the universe around in such a short time?"

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