Charlie Parker

Complete Recordings of Charlie Parker with Lennie Tristano

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AllMusic Review by

This compilation assembles all of the Metronome All-Stars radio broadcasts and studio recording sessions in which Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano both participated. As a thrilling bonus, the disc opens with two marvelously intimate recordings made on Parker's tape recorder at Lennie Tristano's house in New York sometime during August of 1951. Present on this pair of tracks, which add up to eight minutes of friendly cooperative improvisation, were Charlie Parker, Lennie Tristano and Kenny Clarke, who provided percussive accompaniment using brushes on a phone book. Here is the only known recording that Charlie Parker ever made of "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me," and what is said to be his only complete version of "All of Me." Note that these precious recordings were used by Clint Eastwood in Bird, his 1988 cinematic portrait of Charlie Parker, but with Parker's solo digitally isolated, Tristano's portion excised, and a new rhythm section added. It's good to have Tristano back in the mix, as it were. Tristano once remarked that Parker greatly enjoyed improvising with him because he used unusual chord combinations that never occurred to most other pianists. All of the music on this disc demonstrates exactly what Tristano was talking about. The radio recordings, culled from three different 1947 Mutual Network broadcasts, document Parker & Tristano's involvement in postwar United States bond drives as members of the Metronome All-Stars, an amazing core sample of early modern jazz talent assembled and presented by Metronome magazine editor Barry Ulanov. The collective balance of musicological genius on each of these broadcasts is dazzling, with Sarah Vaughan, Allen Eager, John LaPorta and Fats Navarro designated as soloists. During these "battle of the bands" shows, listeners were invited to call in and vote for their favorite players; a "traditionalist" group was pitted against the "beboppers," almost as if the two stylistic categories weren't descended from the same root system. Yet another version of the Metronome All-Stars met in New York's RCA studios on January 3, 1949, this time under the leadership of Pete Rugolo. Parker, despite a photographic memory and a musical intellect that was light years ahead of everybody else, deliberately pretended to have trouble with an untitled piece that Rugolo had composed especially for the occasion. He did this for everyone's benefit as the musicians were being paid by the hour. For this reason Rugolo's composition, heard here in two takes, was christened "Overtime." Three versions of Lennie Tristano's marvelously intricate "Victory Ball" conclude this tribute to the friendship and creative alliance that existed between Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:38
2 4:24
3 1:12
4 5:13
5 3:05
6 3:23
7 1:09
8 3:23
9 3:00
10 3:50
11 0:45
12 2:15
13 2:43
14 3:06
15
2:43
16 2:44
17 3:12
18 3:11
19 6:17
20 3:08
21 4:34
22 2:40
23 2:42
24 4:12
blue highlight denotes track pick