Charlie Parker


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This second installment in the Classics Charlie Parker chronology contains quite a number of Bird's best-loved and most respected recordings. The first 12 tracks, recorded in New York for the Dial label in October and November of 1947, are all masterpieces of modern music, with the ballads, especially "Embraceable You," constituting some of Parker's very best recorded work. This is the classic 1947 quintet with Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach. Even if his personal life was characteristically chaotic, 1947 was a good year for Charlie Parker's music. It was in November 1947 that this band hit the road to play the El Sino Club on St. Antoine Boulevard in Detroit. Unfortunately, Bird got really snockered and couldn't perform, so the El Sino management canceled the gig. Bird ultimately destroyed his saxophone by throwing it out of a hotel window onto the street below. (A tragic and disturbing image!) Back in New York, the band -- now a sextet with the addition of trombonist J.J. Johnson -- made six more sides for Dial on December 17, 1947. Once again the quintet visited Detroit to make good on its broken contract with the El Sino, and this time the band's return engagement was a success. Miles Davis later remembered: "Bird played his ass off." Vocalist Betty Carter even sat in. While they were still in Detroit, producer Teddy Reig had "the Charlie Parker Quintette" make more records for the Savoy label. The four master takes heard here contain music that is still studied and cherished by musicians, poets, lovers, cultural historians, and devout listeners everywhere.

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