Charlie Parker

The Complete Charlie Parker on Dial [Spotlite]

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In 1993, the British Spotlite Jazz label released a four-CD set documenting Charlie Parker's entire recorded output for the Dial label during the years 1946 and 1947. This monster stash, containing 89 tracks amounting to more than four hours of classic Bird, includes every locatable alternate take and rejected excerpt, as well as eight sides privately recorded at a house party that was held as a benefit for Charlie Parker after he was released from Camarillo State Mental Hospital where he had spent months recovering from a heroin and alcohol induced breakdown. Two of the rare acetates from this informal gathering are encrusted with scratchy surface noise; those who truly love Charlie Parker will cherish these artifacts, warts and all. Spotlite's Complete Charlie Parker on Dial is divided into West Coast and East Coast sessions. Two separate booklets are crammed with insights, discographic information, and historic photographs. (The only glaring defect in the liner notes is an inane and scientifically incorrect reference to Bird having undergone "involuntary withdrawal from psychedelics." Obviously, he suffered during withdrawal from narcotics, not psychedelics; had he survived into the '60s, it is quite possible that Yardbird would have found ways to incorporate LSD into his private illicit pharmacopoeia.) Charlie Parker's Dial recordings document his tragedies and triumphs over a span of 22 months during which he at last began to achieve wider recognition and some measure of respect from the public as well as the hip fringe of the postwar entertainment industry.

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