Monday, May 08, 2006

The early Bird

"The Kansas City of the 1920s and 1930s had many of the elements of medieval Florence. A wealthy Italian city state, Florence reveled in its independence and in the creative abilities of its artists. Botticelli, Leonardo and Michelangelo all lived and worked there."

Cool passage from the liner notes of "Charlie Parker: A Studio Chronicle 1940-1948," an English JSP Records compilation I got today, which starts with Parker in Jay McShann's Orchestra (if Basie is Leonardo and Charlie Parker is Michelangelo, Jay McShann can be Botticelli or maybe Brunelleschi). Some people hear bebop in the 1941 version of "Hootie Blues" on this. I hear Charlie Parker ascendent in "The Jumpin' Blues" and "My Heart Tells Me," among other places. Great sound restoration for the most part. I'm really excited about this boxed set, a bargain at $25.98 for the five CDs on Amazon. The four recordings of the Kansas City Band, Parker in a trio with guitar and drums, from 1941 are an especially interesting way to hear where he stands at this point. The version of "Body and Soul" isn't Coleman Hawkins, but it sure points the way to Parker's later sound. He's in New York with the Tiny Grimes Quintet by the end of the first disk and showing the stuff that got everybody so excited.

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