Bobby McFerrin

The Many Faces of Bird

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For its Charlie Parker program, the Jazzvisions folk assembled a team of three alto saxophonists from one generation -- James Moody, Bud Shank, Lee Konitz -- and another from the next generation, Richie Cole, in order to wail on a string of Bird's tunes, plus "April In Paris." Then, in a moment of semi-inspired lunacy, they invited Bobby McFerrin, practically an instrumentalist himself, to produce some off-the-wall scatting solos that are clearly the biggest hit with the Wiltern Theatre crowd. This is not Supersax -- all four altos play themes in unison -- and they do not deviate much from Parker's basic bebop style in their individual solos. It is difficult to tell exactly who is playing what in the audio versions; presumably there is no such problem with the video versions, and of course, you can't mistake McFerrin for anything else! Pianist Lou Levy, bassist Monty Budwig, and drummer John Guerin provide super-reliable bop underpinning for this five-format (CD, LP, cassette, laserdisc, VHS video) release.

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