Charlie Parker

Anthology 1948-1953

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Cabu is a French record label that specializes in good-to-excellent reissue compilations of classic mid-20th century jazz. The choice of artists and the selection of material are generally commendable. The one problem with Cabu is the startlingly lousy cover art. Seldom do the caricatures accurately resemble the humans on whom they were based, and often the sketches have a vulgar quality that might well irritate those who know and respect the musicians who are so carelessly depicted. Cabu's Anthology of recordings made by Charlie Parker between December 1948 and July 1953 is a perfectly fine collection of vintage bop with a horrible cartoon on the cover that makes this great musician look like a drooling dolt. This is disrespectful! The music within, of course, is exciting and well worth experiencing. Disc one contains 21 superb studio recordings supervised by Norman Granz and subsequently issued on his Verve label. Bird is heard with Machito & His Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra; with several excellent trios (one supplemented by Cuban percussionists); and co-leading a quintet with his close friend Dizzy Gillespie. Disc two takes it to another level of immediacy with live performances recorded at the Hi Hat Club in Boston, at the Club Kavakos in Washington, D.C., at Massey Hall in Toronto, and inside of an apartment at 136th Street and Broadway in New York. Some of these tracks document extended jams -- seven, eight, and nine minutes in duration. Altogether a great collection of classic bop, with occasional appearances by Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Roy Haynes, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach.

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