This Stash CD contains some remarkable performances by the young Charlie Parker with pianist Jay McShann's Orchestra. First Bird is heard at the age of 20 with an octet from McShann's big band playing six standards and a blues; his solos on "Lady Be Good" and particularly "Honeysuckle Rose" are classic. Then, after Parker's early version of "Cherokee" from 1942 with the house band at Monroe's Uptown House, one gets to hear what Bird really sounded like on a typical night with Jay McShann's big band. Parker's studio recordings with McShann's Orchestra were three-minute affairs that generally gave him a chorus at the most but, on this 1942 broadcast, Bird really stretches out on a few of the songs, particularly "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," and shows just how advanced a player he was at that early stage. This CD concludes with the 1944 McShann big band (after Bird had departed) in fine form on a radio aircheck and, as a bonus strictly for completists, a very scratchy (and almost unlistenable) version of "I Got Rhythm" from August 1940 by McShann with Bird.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow