Charlie Parker was one of the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived, and any set that presents previously unknown Parker recordings is important, especially when the material comes from studio sessions not blighted by the lo-fi audio that affects most of his live recordings. The music is from the period when Parker was associated with producer Norman Granz (best known as the impresario of the Verve label), and the story of how these tracks were unearthed is told in the excellent liner notes by Phil Schaap. In all there are about 20 unissued takes and a similar number of issued masters and alternates. We also get 30 or so incomplete takes, many of which contain complete solos. The recordings mostly come from various big band sessions (e.g., South of the Border, Charlie Parker Plays Cole Porter), but there are some wonderful “unheard” Parker solos from a couple of small combo sessions too, including bits and pieces from the epochal Bird and Diz date that featured Thelonious Monk. Certainly hardcore fans will be delighted with this, but just as surely this is not the place to start one’s Charlie Parker collection; that would be with his classic recordings for Dial and Savoy.
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