Charlie Parker

Jazz Archives: Parker

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Charlie Parker's place in Century Vista's extensive JAZZ ARCHIVES series of reissues is a typically impressive entry in this excellent collection. Of course, it's difficult for one CD to really represent Parker's astonishing output, but the eight-track JAZZ ARCHIVES does an admirable job of detailing the two sides of the alto saxophonist's musical personality, half blues honker, half Lester Young-influenced bebopper.

The album-opening "Dance Time" shows how well Parker could blow when given a good head of steam, and the closing "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" exhibits how he could fashion something entirely new out of an old standard. However, the album's centerpiece tracks, Parker's own "Ornithology" and Dizzy Gillespie's "A Night in Tunisia," are the stunners, combining hardcore blues passion and cool bop trickiness like no one before or since, with sideman and future superstar Miles Davis matching Parker every step of the way.

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