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Charlie Parker recordings I should listen to

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The Essential Charlie Parker. Obviously, googling that phrase brings up dozens of "essential" compilations. So I turn to the collective wisdom here for your advice. (I tried searching for a similar thread here, which must exist, but I am apparently too dense to find it).

Here's where I'm at:

Studio Recordings

1. "A Studio Chronicle, 1940 - 1948" (jsp) which, as I understand it, includes all the Dial and Savoy studio masters, plus additional material from 1940, including -- I think -- the only version of "Cherokee" I have, performed here by a quartet with one Efferge Ware on guitar.

2. "Yardbird Suite" (rhino). Compilation of mostly studio recordings between 1945 - 52.

3. "Charlie Parker Jam Sessions, 1952" (definitive).

Live Recordings

1. "Massey Hall" (ojc) The one with Mingus' overdubs.

2. "The Complete Live Performances on Savoy," which include mostly Royal Roost recordings, but also a bright remastering of the Diz & Bird at Carnegie Hall performance from '47.

3. "Town Hall, June 22 1945" (uptown)

4. "At Birdland, Vol. 1" (ember). Much of the first disc is terribly muddy. The second disc, from performances May 15-16, 1950, are gold.

5. "Washington Concerts, With Quartet and The Orchestra" (blue note). Wonderful sound quality on these recordings featuring Parker with Joe Timer's Orchestra and also in quartet with Max Roach.

6. "Washington DC, 1945" (uptown). Need to listen more closely to this one to make a fair judgment about it. It's a recording with some local musicians.

7. "The Happy Bird" (collectables). Taken from a performance in Boston in 1951 with mostly local musicians. Good, not inspired.

So that's it, basically, other than a single-disc Savoy compilation. I have my eye on the Mosaic Benedetti recordings, but beyond that, what Parker am I missing that I should listen to?

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I got all my Parker in the days of vinyl and feel I have the essentials by owning the studio recordings (often with alternative takes) on Savoy, Dial and Verve. (Among the first two are probably the finest jazz recordings I have.)

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The Open Door stuff recently under discussion is "essential" in my opinion.

But then again, in my opinion, all Bird is essential...except for the one or two things that are totally noise. Otherwise, if you can even halfway hear Bird, I'm listening.

Does that Birdland disc you have got the set w/Dizzy,Bud, & Sgt. Roy Haynes? You got to have that one.

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The Open Door stuff recently under discussion is "essential" in my opinion.

But then again, in my opinion, all Bird is essential...except for the one or two things that are totally noise. Otherwise, if you can even halfway hear Bird, I'm listening.

Does that Birdland disc you have got the set w/Dizzy,Bud, & Sgt. Roy Haynes? You got to have that one.

It's this one, which does not contain the performance you mentioned. The first disc is mostly a sextet comprised of Parker, Red Rodney, J.J. Johnson, Al Haig, Tommy Potter and Roy Haynes. Pretty muddy, recorded Feb. 14, 1950. The last part of the first disc and all of the second is the Charlie Parker Quintet with Navarro (some debate over that, apparently), Powell, Curley Russell and Blakey. Recorded May 15-16, 1950. Includes one seriously butchered mix of 'Wahoo' that upon first listen I took as the first recorded evidence of free jazz.

I'll look for the Open Door and the other Birdland you've suggested. Thank you.

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The Open Door stuff recently under discussion is "essential" in my opinion.

But then again, in my opinion, all Bird is essential...except for the one or two things that are totally noise. Otherwise, if you can even halfway hear Bird, I'm listening.

Does that Birdland disc you have got the set w/Dizzy,Bud, & Sgt. Roy Haynes? You got to have that one.

I like the Live at Rocklands a lot. BTW Where can one fin the Open Door material? I did 't see it at Amazon or CDUniverse.

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I think I've got just about everything that's been issued. If I were suggesting a more orderly (!) progress for Bird, I'd go with:

Dial first, then Savoy, then Verve. To me the Dials are the core, barely ahead of the Savoys. Love the Verves but the others are more essential.

Then I'd go back and pick up the McShann Deccas, because I think one only really appreciates those after one knows what came after--they give you a tingle up the spine.

Then the live stuff--the Uptown first, I think, then others in no particular order because it's all fine. I'd do the Benedetti Mosaic last. I don't think anyone can appreciate that until s/he's heard just about everything else. It's for the real *hard-core* Bird fanatics (yeah, like me and most others reading this!).

Only my opinion of course. I imagine others will rearrange the order, which is just fine.

greg mo

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The Open Door stuff recently under discussion is "essential" in my opinion.

But then again, in my opinion, all Bird is essential...except for the one or two things that are totally noise. Otherwise, if you can even halfway hear Bird, I'm listening.

Does that Birdland disc you have got the set w/Dizzy,Bud, & Sgt. Roy Haynes? You got to have that one.

I like the Live at Rocklands a lot. BTW Where can one fin the Open Door material? I did 't see it at Amazon or CDUniverse.

I see it here at amazon.

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I think I've got just about everything that's been issued. If I were suggesting a more orderly (!) progress for Bird, I'd go with:

Dial first, then Savoy, then Verve. To me the Dials are the core, barely ahead of the Savoys. Love the Verves but the others are more essential.

Then I'd go back and pick up the McShann Deccas, because I think one only really appreciates those after one knows what came after--they give you a tingle up the spine.

Then the live stuff--the Uptown first, I think, then others in no particular order because it's all fine. I'd do the Benedetti Mosaic last. I don't think anyone can appreciate that until s/he's heard just about everything else. It's for the real *hard-core* Bird fanatics (yeah, like me and most others reading this!).

Only my opinion of course. I imagine others will rearrange the order, which is just fine.

greg mo

Seems like a nice progression. The jsp "Studio Chronicles" does contain three McShann sessions, 14 tracks in all, recorded between 1940 - 42. Thank you for mentioning those. I'll forage around for the Decca stuff.

(ordered the "Open Door" performances. Thanks jsngry. The Birdland you reference might be a little more difficult to find at a reasonable $.)

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You need the 1947 and 1949 Carnegie Hall concerts.

Also, all of the Verve small group sides, plus the recordings with Machito, and Bird's JATP recordings.

Basically, you need to hear everything that is not below your own aural recording quality floor.

Edited by kh1958

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i just scored the Diz big band 1948 w/ bird

I hope that's not that Stash side...that's one of the few that's unlistenable to me...

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http://www.plosin.com/MilesAhead/BirdSessions.aspx?s=510331

March 31, 1951 (9 items; TT = 24:34)

Birdland, New York NY

WJZ radio broadcast

Charlie Parker Quintet

Charlie Parker (as); J.B. "Dizzy" Gillespie (tpt); Earl "Bud" Powell (p); Tommy Potter (b); Roy Haynes (d); Symphony Sid Torin (ann)

1 Announcement (Symphony Sid Torin) 1:51

"...To bring to you three of the greatest gentlemen of modern music, the gentlemen that we presented about five, oh, about 1945, in their first concert at Carnegie Hall. You were born there? He wasn't born in 1945? I've got news for you Birks... I said 'Birks', not... 'Birks', the name is 'Birks'... Watch your language, Jim, be cool, because we'll send Sephardic on you, (undecipherable). I think we ought to give these three gentlemen -- as a matter of fact the entire group... 'What is the first tune?' Why should we worry about what is the first tune? But what I think we ought to do is give each one of these three gentlemen a great big hand. First, ladies and gentlemen, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie real quick-like... 'Course I don't know who's getting top billing this morning, but if I said it real... Watch your language! Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker-Dizzy Gillespie... Bud Powell at the piano, ladies and gentlemen... On bass, we have, ah, Tommy Potter. Let's give Tommy Potter a great big hand... I thought your name was Max... On drums, ladies and gentlemen, Sergeant Roy Haynes... Not a sergeant yet, but we'll get him in there. And those are the gentlemen that are here up until this coming Wednesday, and we'd love for you to come by and dig Dizzy and Bird and... Bud Powell. As I said before, three of the greatest gentlemen of modern music... (Splice) You say you will? That was made with, uh, Dexter, wasn't it, years ago? Here it is, 'Blue 'n' Boogie'..."

2 Blue 'n' Boogie (D. Gillespie-F. Paparelli) 6:54

During his solo Parker quotes "I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair" (1:28-1:32) and "Lady Bird" (2:32-2:36).

3 Introduction (Symphony Sid Torin) 0:17

"Oh, what memories that brings back. Brings back a lot of memories. I don't know whether you remember 1945, when Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker and Bud Powell all on 52nd Street... (gap) Here's 'Anthropology'..."

4 Anthropology (D. Gillespie-C. Parker) 5:04

Parker, Gillespie, and Haynes exchanges following Powell's solo (3:48-4:35).

5 Introduction (Symphony Sid Torin) 1:09

"A little while ago, while the boys were playing the thing, I was standing at the bar and I was talking to Terry Gibbs and he said to me just like I've been saying to you for the past few days, it never in life will happen again, probably, where you can get three great gentlemen of modern music, guys like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell, Roy Haynes and uh, (Parker says 'Tommy Potter') Tommy Potter all together in one group. It's only because of Birdland that we can get such wonderful guys, gentlemen who have made modern music what it is today. I hope you enjoy it, I hope you have a lot of fun. And don't forget, make it here at Birdland, the jazz corner of the world, Broadway at 52nd Street, a dollar admission -- how could you go wrong? Did you have a ball for just a dollar? (Shouts.) Did you? Look at them, all these fellas here, and girls, who had a lot of fun. Look, if you want to sit and make it with the sauce, I mean it's your fault. But anyhow, just a dollar you can come by and relax and have a wonderful, wonderful time. Right now, ladies and gentlemen, a thing that was originally written by the high priest of bop, Thelonious Monk, and done by Bird and Dizzy and the fellas, 'Round About Midnight'..."

6 'Round Midnight (B. Hanighen-C. Williams-T. Monk) 3:14

7 Introduction (Symphony Sid Torin) 0:31

"'Round About Midnight', and I remember years ago when Dizzy was playing it with his big band, I think at the Spotlite on 52nd Street, Billie Holiday used to come and she said 'one of these day I'm gonna record...' (Someone in the audience yells.) I remember that, she used to sit at the back of the bar and she'd say 'one of these days I'm gonna sing Round About Midnight'. Never happened, and maybe one of these days it will. What are we gonna do, Bird? ('Tunisia') 'A Night in Tunisia'? A great big hand for 'A Night in Tunisia' by a wonderful organization..." Potter and Haynes begin during the closing seconds of Sid's introduction.

8 A Night in Tunisia (D. Gillespie-F. Paparelli) 4:54

9 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid (L. Young) (incomplete, with closing announcement) 0:40

Voiceover from 0:06: "Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you who are listening in this morning have had a lot of fun listening to Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Tommy Potter, and Roy Haynes. I hope you enjoyed George Kirby our impressionist here at Birdland, and I hope too that you've enjoyed the exciting sounds of George Cole and the All-Stars. It's been a wonderful morning. Thanks a lot, ladies and gentlemen, and don't forget, if you're looking for musical fun, make it here at Birdland at the jazz corner of the world, Broadway at 52nd Street. Well, it looks like we gotta cut out, so while we do..."

Found here: http://www.amazon.com/At-Birdland-Charlie-...5175&sr=1-4

Of course, this will duplicate your Vol 1 , but to buy Vol 2 solo is just a tad more pricey, at least on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/At-Birdland-Vol-Char...5175&sr=1-8

Waaaay harder to find than it should be....

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As Jim said, the only Bird not worth hearing are the few things where the noise obliterates the music. The thing is with Bird is that his sound cuts through a lot of superfluous noise and you can still hear him, even when the other musician's sounds are lost.

I'll mention a couple of things worth finding.

There's a great session from Dec. 1950 - a WJZ broadcast from Birdland that has some of the greatest Bird I've heard - Bird w. Red Rodney, Kenny Drew, Curley Russell, & Blakey. Bird is on fire and the rest of the band is right with him. The set begins with a version of "Anthropology" taken at an insane tempo. Kenny Drew was 22 when this was recorded, and this contains some of his best playing - certainly the most fiery I've heard. Art Blakey sounds like he was ready to explode. At times, it seems like Curley Russell's rock steady bass was all that was holding the band together. Listening to it again today, I had the feeling that if this music had been recorded in high fidelity it might blow my speakers apart.

I have it on a Royal Jazz CD, available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00...7181&sr=8-1

Don't believe the review - The sound isn't much, but the music is fantastic. Incidentally, the rest of the CD contains three performances by Tony Fruscella, Bill Triglia, and probably Dave Schildkraut - not Bird, as the liners advertise.

Another interesting Bird CD is Bird's Eyes Vol. 8 (Philology W80.2) - Several performances w. the Kenton band from early 1954 and 13 minutes of Paul Desmond and an announcer interviewing Bird.

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As Jim said, the only Bird not worth hearing are the few things where the noise obliterates the music. The thing is with Bird is that his sound cuts through a lot of superfluous noise and you can still hear him, even when the other musician's sounds are lost.

I'll mention a couple of things worth finding.

There's a great session from Dec. 1950 - a WJZ broadcast from Birdland that has some of the greatest Bird I've heard - Bird w. Red Rodney, Kenny Drew, Curley Russell, & Blakey. Bird is on fire and the rest of the band is right with him. The set begins with a version of "Anthropology" taken at an insane tempo. Kenny Drew was 22 when this was recorded, and this contains some of his best playing - certainly the most fiery I've heard. Art Blakey sounds like he was ready to explode. At times, it seems like Curley Russell's rock steady bass was all that was holding the band together. Listening to it again today, I had the feeling that if this music had been recorded in high fidelity it might blow my speakers apart.

I have it on a Royal Jazz CD, available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00...7181&sr=8-1

Don't believe the review - The sound isn't much, but the music is fantastic. Incidentally, the rest of the CD contains three performances by Tony Fruscella, Bill Triglia, and probably Dave Schildkraut - not Bird, as the liners advertise.

Another interesting Bird CD is Bird's Eyes Vol. 8 (Philology W80.2) - Several performances w. the Kenton band from early 1954 and 13 minutes of Paul Desmond and an announcer interviewing Bird.

That session is also in the box set Jsngry mentions above.

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OK. On their way to me now are the '49 JATP Carnegie Hall album (pablo); the Complete at Birdland (you're right, JS. It's cheaper to get both volumes and duplicate than it is to just purchase Vol. 2); the Prestige "Charlie Parker" that I think I spied on the desert island parker recordings thread, which includes performances at 52nd Street and St. Nick's; and the "At the Open Door" album.

... so basically everything that's been mentioned so far ... :g

One other title I have on hand here that I neglected to mention is the "Charlie Parker, Lester Young Complete JATP Performances" (definitive), recorded in '46 and '49, but which has no duplication with the Pablo JATP mentioned above. Going to cue it up here soon.

I sure appreciate all the input. Going through a bit of a Bird thing lately.

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OK. On their way to me now are the '49 JATP Carnegie Hall album (pablo); the Complete at Birdland (you're right, JS. It's cheaper to get both volumes and duplicate than it is to just purchase Vol. 2); the Prestige "Charlie Parker" that I think I spied on the desert island parker recordings thread, which includes performances at 52nd Street and St. Nick's; and the "At the Open Door" album.

... so basically everything that's been mentioned so far ... :g

One other title I have on hand here that I neglected to mention is the "Charlie Parker, Lester Young Complete JATP Performances" (definitive), recorded in '46 and '49, but which has no duplication with the Pablo JATP mentioned above. Going to cue it up here soon.

I sure appreciate all the input. Going through a bit of a Bird thing lately.

The 1949 JATP Carnegie Hall concert you ordered is different from the one I was referring to--its on a Stash CD called Charlie Parker and the Stars of Modern Jazz at Carnegie Hall, Christmas 1949. The latter CD has his working quintet, with Red Rodney on trumpet.

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The 1949 JATP Carnegie Hall concert you ordered is different from the one I was referring to--its on a Stash CD called Charlie Parker and the Stars of Modern Jazz at Carnegie Hall, Christmas 1949. The latter CD has his working quintet, with Red Rodney on trumpet.

Ah well. I'm batting .750 ... which just happens to approximate the on-base percentage of anyone facing the Rays' bullpen. :angry:

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The 1949 JATP concert on Pablo is worthy as well. You can't go wrong with Charlie Parker and Sonny Criss on the same stage--the other instance also being recommended--Inglewood Jam (Bird with Chet Baker and Sonny Criss).

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Given what you have listed, I would try first to track down the Complete Charlie Parker on Verve. That has no duplication with your listed collection, and contains tons of tremendous Bird in a variety of contexts in the best sound quality that he was ever recorded in.

And don't think that you just need the master takes of the Dial and Savoy recordings. The alternatives are numerous and every bit as brilliant. Bird plays each take so differently that they are the equivalent of additional compositions. There are a number of cheap alternatives these days. Believe me, if you like Bird, you NEED the alternates.

Edited by John L

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I've never heard the Coltrane-Henderson tape, but Bird with the Dizzy Big band in '48 has got to be one of the worst sounding CDs in my collection. It is an interesting historical artifact, as (I believe) no other tapes exist of Bird playing in Dizzy's big band, but it cannot really be listened to for pleasure.

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OK, so I stand corrected. I'll have to try that the next time that I go to Safeway. :)

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There's a great session from Dec. 1950 - a WJZ broadcast from Birdland that has some of the greatest Bird I've heard - Bird w. Red Rodney, Kenny Drew, Curley Russell, & Blakey. Bird is on fire and the rest of the band is right with him. The set begins with a version of "Anthropology" taken at an insane tempo. Kenny Drew was 22 when this was recorded, and this contains some of his best playing - certainly the most fiery I've heard. Art Blakey sounds like he was ready to explode. At times, it seems like Curley Russell's rock steady bass was all that was holding the band together. Listening to it again today, I had the feeling that if this music had been recorded in high fidelity it might blow my speakers apart.

I have it on a Royal Jazz CD, available here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00...7181&sr=8-1

Don't believe the review - The sound isn't much, but the music is fantastic. Incidentally, the rest of the CD contains three performances by Tony Fruscella, Bill Triglia, and probably Dave Schildkraut - not Bird, as the liners advertise.

I have the vast majority of what has been issued by Bird, but I don't have this session. Just ordered the Royal Jazz CD - I've had Royal Jazz Vol. 1 for years; don't know why I never got Vol. 2. Thanks for the review.

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I got all my Parker in the days of vinyl and feel I have the essentials by owning the studio recordings (often with alternative takes) on Savoy, Dial and Verve. (Among the first two are probably the finest jazz recordings I have.)

Same here.

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