Charlie Parker

The Complete Legendary Rockland Palace Concert 1952

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There aren't many live recordings of Bird during his string-section period, which would usually feature his regular quintet as the rhythm section. Aside from the famous Carnegie Hall concert of 1950, much of what exists boasts atrocious sound quality. One of those was Parker's performance at a dance with both his quintet and a string section at New York City's Rockland Palace in 1952. With Walter Bishop on piano, Teddy Kotick on bass, Mundell Lowe on guitar (replacing the trumpet that would normally spell Bird on solos), and Max Roach on drums, the string section works the same charts as the studio versions, but Parker's solos are -- as always -- inventive and often differ from their better-known incarnations. For years, part of this show was documented on several vinyl LPs taken from an audience recording off a wobbly sounding wire recorder. This new issue boasts the major find of a second tape recorded that night by far more professional means. The second tape had superior sound, plus several performances that didn't exist on the earlier version. The new tape had one major drawback; it contained almost no solos by musicians other than Bird. So the restoration on this two-disc set is painstakingly pieced together from the two existing tapes. While certain edits are noticeable, this audio restoration not only gives a fuller picture of some of the music Parker played that evening, but in the best sound that can be expected until future audio miracles are invented. As an added bonus, one track (a blisteringly fast take of "Lester Leaps In") was synched up between both tapes, resulting in a kind of surround sound stereo that makes for interesting listening. An important chapter in Parker's musical history, now preserved in the best audio shape possible.

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