Charlie Parker

The Complete Verve Master Takes

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While it is a great thing to have all of the Charlie Parker master takes of his Verve period on one disc, including a complete duplication of Complete Verve Masters with Strings, which was issued a year earlier, it seems more than excessive and more and more like Universal's stock motive: to get the loyal listener to buy the same product over and over again. While those who oversee these projects can claim "historical accuracy" as a motive, it will stink of false rhetoric. First, the argument that the "with strings" sessions should have been given an entire disc apart from everything else is in a way bogus, as they were part of a seminal continuum that charted Parker's development and decline. They should never have been separated out in the first place. But completists no doubt bought them, and now are expected to buy them again just to get a "true" historical package. This is simply cynical marketing by Universal. Not considering the 24 "with strings" performances, there are 50 other master takes here produced by Norman Granz, ranging from a 1947 Carnegie Hall date to Parker's last in 1954. Many of the cuts here come from 1950-1952. Half of the 1949 sessions are string dates; the rest come from sessions with Kenny Dorham, Tommy Turk, Al Haig, Tommy Potter, and Carlos Vidal. The most rewarding performances here are a reunion of sorts with Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, along with Curly Russell and Buddy Rich, from April 1950. These tracks are nearly seminal versions of "Mohawk," "Leapfrog," and "Relaxin' with Lee," along with fine reads of "Bloomdido," "An Oscar for Treadwell," and "My Melancholy Baby." Four other cuts come from a brief reunion with Miles Davis and Max Roach in January of 1951 with Teddy Kotick and Walter Bishop, Jr. rounding out the band and include smokingly hot versions of "Au Privave," "She Rote," and "K.C Blues." Other musicians who appear here are Oscar Peterson, Red Rodney, Kenny Clarke, John Lewis, and Billy Bauer, among dozens of others. The package is beautiful in a decorated, painted silver metal box that the CDs fold out of, but the booklet -- like Universal's Joni Mitchell set -- falls apart because of bogus stitching. In all, this would have worked a lot better as a double set to respect those who were righteous enough to buy the strings disc. But since when do record companies respect consumers?

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 4:47 Amazon
2 3:10 SpotifyAmazon
3 3:01 SpotifyAmazon
4 3:21 Amazon
5 2:57
6 3:02
7 3:32 SpotifyAmazon
8 3:18 SpotifyAmazon
9 3:09 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:48 SpotifyAmazon
11 3:15 SpotifyAmazon
12 2:49 SpotifyAmazon
13 3:31 SpotifyAmazon
14 2:48 SpotifyAmazon
15 2:54 SpotifyAmazon
16 3:27 SpotifyAmazon
17 3:25 SpotifyAmazon
18 3:38 SpotifyAmazon
19 3:27 SpotifyAmazon
20 2:32 SpotifyAmazon
21 2:49 SpotifyAmazon
22 3:13 SpotifyAmazon
23 3:07 SpotifyAmazon
24 2:57 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:41 SpotifyAmazon
2 3:22 SpotifyAmazon
3 3:32 SpotifyAmazon
4 3:36 SpotifyAmazon
5 3:07 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:46 SpotifyAmazon
7 3:08 SpotifyAmazon
8 3:27 SpotifyAmazon
9 3:37 SpotifyAmazon
10 3:06 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:44 SpotifyAmazon
12 2:47 Amazon
13 2:53 SpotifyAmazon
14 3:09 SpotifyAmazon
15 2:48 SpotifyAmazon
16 2:41 SpotifyAmazon
17 3:13 SpotifyAmazon
18 2:49 Amazon
19 3:26 SpotifyAmazon
20 3:33 SpotifyAmazon
21 3:09 SpotifyAmazon
22 3:31 SpotifyAmazon
23 2:59 SpotifyAmazon
24 2:55 SpotifyAmazon
25 2:41 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:46 SpotifyAmazon
2 3:16 SpotifyAmazon
3 2:42 SpotifyAmazon
4 2:52 SpotifyAmazon
5 2:36 SpotifyAmazon
6 3:10 SpotifyAmazon
7 2:37 SpotifyAmazon
8 2:58 SpotifyAmazon
9 2:46 SpotifyAmazon
10
2:59 SpotifyAmazon
11 3:07 SpotifyAmazon
12 3:26 SpotifyAmazon
13 3:38 SpotifyAmazon
14 2:28 SpotifyAmazon
15 3:05 SpotifyAmazon
16 3:05 SpotifyAmazon
17 3:03 SpotifyAmazon
18 2:59 SpotifyAmazon
19 3:36 SpotifyAmazon
20 2:42 SpotifyAmazon
21 3:20 SpotifyAmazon
22 3:35 SpotifyAmazon
23 5:36 SpotifyAmazon
24 5:07 SpotifyAmazon
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