Charlie Parker

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Charlie Parker

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Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was instrumental in tipping jazz over from the swing genre, which was predominantly a dance music, to bop, which aspired to art, an intellectual dance if you will, and consequently Parker was a huge purveyor of the mid-'40s sea change that began to alter the way audiences approached jazz, and pop music in general. This brief, concise overview of his peak years includes "The Bird" (an update of the old swing standard "Topsy"), recorded for Norman Granz's monumental The Jazz Scene project in 1947, and 1950's wonderful "Bloomdido," which reunited Parker with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and boasted a for-the-ages rhythm section of Thelonious Monk, Curly Russell, and Buddy Rich. Another highlight is "K.C. Blues," tracked in 1951 and featuring extended blues improvisations from both Parker and a young Miles Davis. Bird died in 1955, and that it has been nearly 50 years since his passing is unfathomable, since his influence is still so pervasive in jazz and is likely to remain that way, whatever the millennium. This disc is a bare-bones, basic introduction to Parker, but it is only the beginning, and you'll find yourself wanting more almost immediately.

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