Charlie Parker

Ultimate Charlie Parker

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Verve's Ultimate Charlie Parker may not live up to its billing, but the budget-priced collection is nevertheless a terrific introductory sampler. Jackie McLean, one of Bird's greatest disciples, selected the 11 songs on the compilation, and he did an excellent job of balancing acknowledged classics with choices that illustrate Parker's full range. Some listeners will undoubtedly find a favorite or two missing, but these 11 tracks -- including "After You've Gone," "Oh, Lady, Be Good!," "The Bird," "Repetition," "Summertime," "April in Paris" and "Everything Happens to Me" -- capture the essence of Parker's Verve recordings, which is enough to make this a worthwhile sampler.

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