Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bird in the wild

A live collection that goes good with "Charlie Parker: A Studio Chronicle 1940-1948," JSP Records, is "Charlie Parker: The Complete Live Performances on Savoy," mostly New York radio broadcasts from 1948-49 with the last of the four disks devoted to a 1947 performance in Carnegie Hall and a 1950 concert in Chicago.

Something about "Symphony" Sid Torin introducing Bird and his mates (Miles Davis, Max Roach, Kenny Dorham and Tad Dameron among them) from the Royal Roost, "the Metropolitan Bopera House," tickles me every time I hear it. There's some song repetition from show to show, then again it's Charlie Parker playing live so while the song titles may be the same the way the songs, like "Slow Boat to China," get played isn't. Charlie Parker playing "White Christmas," on a Christmas morning no less, is priceless.

The Chicago concert has Parker with a local pickup band, the way he often had to perform later in his career just to get a gig, including the Freeman brothers George on guitar and Bruz on drums, but not tenor sax legend Von. The sound from the radio broadcasts is good, which can't be said for a lot of the live Parker stuff culled from amateur and impromptu tapes.

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