Charlie Parker

Young Bird, Vols. 1-2: 1940-1944

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The first two volumes of YOUNG BIRD, an outstanding multi-disc overview of the early career of alto saxophone genius Charlie "Bird" Parker, cover the war years 1940-44, when swing was the order of the day and big bands were at their peak. In fact, the earliest tracks here feature the unusual kick of hearing Parker's unmistakable tones--his musical voice seems to have sprung forth fully formed--in the middle of otherwise standard big band fare by Jay McShann and his Orchestra, including an assortment of big band standards. Most of the second disc covers tracks from Parker's earliest days as a leader, featuring several lineups of the Charlie Parker Trio. Parker is mostly exploring the blues here, but the Lester Young influence starts to take hold over the course of these tracks, and by the set's third version of "Body and Soul," Parker and cohorts are playing pure bop.