Charlie Parker

Jazz at the Philharmonic, 1949

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Charlie Parker's 1949 appearance at Norman Granz's annual Jazz at the Philharmonic concert is less legendary than his 1946 debut there, but listening to this magnificently remastered 68-minute document of his set, it's nearly impossible to understand why. Surrounded by an astonishing group of sidemen, including Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Hank Jones, and Buddy Rich, Parker is at the top of his form throughout. Even when he's trading choruses with his foremost influence, tenor Lester Young, on Young's signature piece "Lester Leaps In," Parker's passionate, powerful alto pretty much blows Young off the stage. Elsewhere, Parker plays around with standards, transforming "Perdido," "How High the Moon?" and "Embraceable You" from well-worn set pieces to exciting and innovative bop showcases. JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC 1949 is a breathtaking example of live jazz at its most transcendent.

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