Part of the Verve re-issue series, TALKIN' BIRD culls 12 Parker tracks from the Norman Granz-produced sessions in the early 1950s. As one would expect from Verve, the sound quality is immaculate, and the personnel for these sessions reads like a who's who of jazz history. Thelonious Monk, Buddy Rich, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Roy Eldridge, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, and Oscar Peterson all put in appearances, and Bird's playing seems even freer, more fiery, and more precise than ever in such company.
On five cuts, including one with Machito and His Afro-Cuban Orchestra, TALKIN' BIRD emphasizes Parker's penchant for Latin inflections. Such classics as "KC Blues" and "Lester Leaps In" (imagine-Pres and Bird on the same song!) are included for good measure. Like most of the Verve re-issues, the packaging and liner notes target a younger audience, championing the music as just as fresh, innovative and, incendiary today as it was when it was created. Nothing could be truer.