Consilience Productions
CD Picks

Charlie Parker
(b. 8/29/20 - Kansas City, KS    d. 3/12/55 - New York, NY)

Title: Yardbird Suite - The Ultimate Charlie Parker
Personnel: various jazz giants from the '40's-'50's.
Recorded: various
Label: Rhino
Comments: The father of modern jazz, Charlie Parker's genius was unparalleled during his lifetime and continues to amaze into the 21st century. His rhythmic sophistication is just simply flabbergasting, and his playing has influenced every single musician who has attempted to play jazz since. Along with Dizzy Gillespie, Parker invented the new music of his day (1942) - bebop. Characterized through the use of "extensions" (notes related to the chords of the song that had never been used before), bebop was a complete revolution following the big band era of the 20's, 30's and early 40's. Together with Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy, Kenny Clark and Max Roach (on drums), Parker created the new music that could only be played by the most advanced technicians of the day, as the music was complicated, difficult, and far advanced. This compilation CD comes from various labels and is simply the best introduction to Bird's music on the shelf today.
Title: Bird & Diz
Personnel: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Thelonious Monk, (piano), Buddy Rich (drums). Curly Russell (bass).
Recorded: 6/6/50
Label: Verve
Comments: A terrific CD recorded some eight years into the be-bop era, Bird & Diz is a great document of these masters of be-bop. Unfortunately, the greatness of Charlie Parker was to only last five more years, as Bird died at the young age of 35 in 1955. Perhaps his candle was burning faster than normal, as the coroner estimated his age at 65 the night he died. Incredible...
Title: Bird at St. Nicks (Live)
Personnel: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Red Rodney (trumpet), Al Haig (piano), Roy Haynes (drums), Tommy Potter (bass).
Recorded: 1950
Label: Fantasy
Comments: Nearly all of Bird's CD's are worth getting, but some stick out from the rest. This CD is important because it is a live recording, where Bird gets into some ideas that you don't find anywhere else. In particular, his playing on "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," is remarkable with respect to the intervals that he plays in one part of his solo. Just as his playing was easily a decade or two ahead of his time, Bird always had one foot grounded to the history that came before him. Listen as he quotes Louis Armstrong's introduction to "West End Blues," which was recorded 22 years earlier in 1928.

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