This is the type of Charlie Parker CD that is essential for Bird collectors but less important to more casual jazz fans. The contents of this set should amaze Parker fanatics: Bird's initial private recording of May 1940 (unaccompanied versions of "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Body and Soul" cut in a private recording booth), four remarkable studio-quality selections from 1942 (including "Cherokee") in which the altoist is just backed by rhythm guitar and quiet drums, rehearsal and jam session numbers from 1943 with Bird on tenor (including an amazing seven-minute version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" by the trio of Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and bassist Oscar Pettiford) and three lengthy cuts from a late-1945 broadcast by Diz and Bird with a sextet. These important recordings fill a major gap, giving one many clues as to how Charlie Parker sounded before he emerged fully formed on records in 1945.
The Complete "Birth of the Bebop" Review
by Scott Yanow