Having gone through all five disks now, I think it's hard to beat "Charlie Parker: A Studio Chronicle 1940-1948," JSP Records, as the basis of a Parker collection. At about $25, the price is fantastic, the sound is great and the selection includes early Bird with Jay McShann's band and Tiny Grimes, not to mention Dizzy, and all, as far as I can tell, of Parker's important Dial and Savoy studio sides.
Incredible music, of course. What always strikes me listening to Charlie Parker isn't just his unmatched creativity but the pace at which he issues new musical ideas. Listening to the fifth disk of the collection over the weekend, I also was struck by what a wonderful, emotive ballad player he was, even with no strings in sight, and how he was no less relentlessly creative at a slower pace.