Charlie Parker

Immortal Sessions, Vol. 2

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

This five disc set continues the chronicling of all of Bird's noteworthy "live" recordings. Disc one continues the Royal Roost broadcast of Bird and his All Stars from January 1949 that began on Vol. 1 of this set, featuring Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Al Haig on piano, Tommy Potter on bass and Max Roach on drums. The group is in fine form on "Slow Boat to China," "Hot House," "Groovin' High," and a wild "Salt Peanuts" with Bird doing the Gillespie scat tag line. Disc two presents seven tracks taken from a 1950 broadcast at Birdland. Bird takes on Fats Navarro riff for riff, and Navarro gives as good as he gets on "Perdido," "Round Midnight," "Move," "Cool Blues," "52nd Street Theme," and a particularly potent "Ornithology." Helping things reach a fever pitch on these performances is the work of Bud Powell and drummer Art Blakey. Disc three is split evenly between a 1950 Apollo Theater broadcast with an unknown string section and a 1951 Birdland broadcast featuring Bird in the company of Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Roy Haynes, Tommy Potter, and the endless cheerleading of disc jockey Symphony Sid, whose theme -- "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid" -- closes the broadcast. The fourth disc features a dozen tracks from the famous Rockland Palace broadcasts, the first four featuring Bird with a string section, the rest with his quintet of the time (Max Roach, Mundell Lowe, Teddy Kotick on bass, and Walter Bishop on piano), augmented by a string section on "Rocker." Bird's playing on the quintet sides is marvelous, especially effective on "Lester Leaps In" and "This Time the Dream's on Me." The final disc is the famous Massey Hall Concert from 1953 with a truly all-star lineup of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Mingus, Max Roach, and Bud Powell. Bird and Diz challenge each other, goof on each other and generally inspire each other to their best on "Perdido," "Salt Peanuts," "A Night In Tunisia," "Wee," "Hot House," and a reflective "All the Things You Are." While this set is a good way to get a large chunk of Bird playing live, the accompanying notes are scant, and the overall sound transfer is dodgy in spots. Bottom line -- there are better-reproduced versions of this material out there, and the purchase of those individual sets is a better way to go for the more audiophile-concerned among you in the long run.

blue highlight denotes track pick