Charlie Parker

South of the Border: The Verve Latin-Jazz Sides

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Verve gathers together all of the master takes of Charlie Parker's recordings with the swinging band of Afro-Cuban jazz pioneer Machito, along with ten other Latinized numbers that he cut in 1951-1952. Besides illustrating the willingness of producer Norman Granz to experiment and take Parker out of a small-group bebop straitjacket, this CD shows that Bird's improvisational style changed hardly at all in a Latin setting. He continued to run off his patented lightning bop licks over the congas and bongos and they just happened to interlock with the grooves quite snugly, although he did adapt his phrasing of the tunes themselves to suit their rhythmic lines. Included here is the spectacular "No Noise" that he cut as a guest with Machito and tenorman Flip Phillips in 1948, as well as Chico O'Farrill's epic Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite (also with Machito). For those who do not have the ten-CD The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve -- where all 14 selections can be found -- this is an inexpensive way to hear Parker in a refreshingly different context very nearly at the top of his form.

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