Great Britain's Proper imprint has been releasing terrific multi-disc boxed collections by many major artists in the genres of jazz, blues, and country since the 1990s. On occasion, they've also issued double-disc retrospectives. These offerings have been long on detail in terms of not only volume, but great sound, accurate discographical information, and best of all, they retail at a very attractive price point. Which brings us to their 21st century single-disc series representing major jazz and blues artists. In this case, it's no less than Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, and as such, one must note that this is a very strange collection, to say the least. The recordings are all studio dates tapped between 1944 and 1951, so the real birth of bebop is certainly covered here, with sessions from Dial and Savoy, but so are many of the Verve recordings -- à la Bird with Strings dates. There are very well-known originals included, such as "Au Privave" and "Blues for Alice," but most of the numbers here are standards, including George Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me," Johnny Mercer's "Laura," and a slew of other string-drenched performances. In fact, this collection is so schizophrenic it's a head scratcher trying to figure out who might be persuaded to buy it.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek