Charlie Parker

Timeless

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Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was instrumental in tipping jazz over from the swing genre, which was predominantly a dance music, to bop, which aspired to art, an intellectual dance if you will, and this mid-'40s sea change began to alter the way audiences approached jazz, and pop music in general. The recordings included in this selection of Parker's classic Savoy sides were front and center in the change-over, and the first thing that hits is the frantic pace of most of these, although they are still ostensibly dance tracks, and the second thing that sticks out in tracks like "Donna Lee" is a re-establishment of the blues as a central thematic template. Bop would slow some as it evolved, and its links to dance would abate and all but vanish as things morphed into what became known as hard bop, but the blues connection would remain a ghostly constant. Sides like the gorgeous and edgy "Parker's Mood" prefigure the slower tempos and deliberate dissonance of hard bop a decade later. There are several different collections of Parker's Savoy period available, some of which are more inclusive than this one, but Timeless makes a nice and compact introduction to a brilliant musician during his finest period.

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