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So, you don't any Bird eh......


BERIGAN
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Well, Big Al, brave man that he is, admitted this sin on another thread. And I know I have heard one or two others here thru the years say the very same thing. So, if a guy like me who has a jazz collection almost completely comprised of pre WW2 recordings has 6-7 Parker cds, why don't YOU??? Is it a fidelity issue? You once heard a lousy sounding live recording in a record store, and you figure it's all like that? Or is it every time you hear Bird, you picture Forest Whitaker? Or is it that you'd really like to own some of his cds, but you only have 83 Miles Davis cds, and just as soon as you have 100, you'll get right on it.

It seems to me that if you like mainly 1950 to 1965 jazz recordings, it isn't like it's a monumental leap backwards to listen(and enjoy) the music of the man who inspired so many future jazzman.

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Should be interesting to hear honest admissions, explanations and excuses to THAT one ... :D

You know there are people out there to whom Bird is SOOOO old ... (anything pre-1955, in fact, i.e. anything that happened before Trane, Adderley, Morgan, Mobley and the like came along ;))

Signing off for now to spin that "new" Bird LP bought yesterday before it gets filed with those other 30 Bird LP's in my Jazz collection ... ;)

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I expect it's a matter of personal priorities with most people. We neither have unlimited resources nor unlimited time to listen to music. So it's necessary to prioritise. And there's so much that one does want really urgently!

Apart from a handful of albums (altogether) by Armstrong and Bechet and a few big bands like Buddy Johnson's or Erskine Hawkns, it's only in the last few months that I've begun (after 46 years!) to explore the music from before WW2, as you'll have noticed. But I started with singing preachers anyway, not the New Orleans people or the big bands, which I've only just got round to in the last few weeks. But I'm very comfortable with that situation. Sure, there are big gaps in my collection but, so what (be-doo be-doo be-doo dah doo-dah)?

Oh, and to the point of the thread, I do have 2 Parker albums; "Bird symbols" and "Live at Rockland Palace".

MG

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I do have a couple of Parker albums, as well as other stuff 'any jazz fan should have', like the Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens, couple of pre-fifties Ellington albums, Monk's 'Genius of Modern Music' volumes etc. Truth be told, the sound quality does prevent me from playing these too often, although I do enjoy them when they're in my cd player.

I guess the (relatively) poor fidelity does prevent me from really delving into pre fifties jazz in general. I know this will make me sound like a shallow person, but I don't buy records because I'm 'supposed to know' about them or to 'get a well-rounded collection', but simply because I enjoy listening to the stuff I like.

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I have to admit that after being initiated into jazz by the first batch of Blue Note re-issue CDs in the mid 80's, the fidelity of the Parker stuff really turned me off. I know it's all about the music, yeah, yeah...but, it wasn't until I heard a nice CD reissue of the Verve LP "Now's The Time" (the CD reissue has a purple cover w/Charlie Parker Hi-Fi on the cover). Anyway, it's got recordings with Max Roach from 53 & 53 and the quality is extremely good. I REALLY got into that CD. Of course, after that stuff I went back to the Dial sessions and fell in love with THAT.

So I guess my point is, if fidelity is holding you back. Get the Verve reissue. BEAUTIFUL sound and Charlie is killing.

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Look, I'll probably be inducted into the Subjectivity Hall Of Fame on the first ballot, but by any universal objective criteria I can think of, the collective body of Charlie Parker's improvisations rank as some of the most profound music of the 20th century. The "sound quality" of the various recordings will eventually remain a factor only if you're listening to music strictly for recreational reasons and are either unwilling or unable to listen to the music as music and not just as a lifestyle accessory. If at some point you don't "get it", fine, but there's no excuse to be had from any source other than within yourself.

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Also, the very best Bird is often heard on some pretty rough sounding airshots. The Dial/Savoy/Verve trilogy (none of which is in anything resembling "poor" sound) is far more often than not just the tip of the iceberg. Live Bird is a universe unto itself, a freakin' glorious universe, and the sound quality often requires active listener engagement.

Deal with it.

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Right.

I think Bird's music is so wonderful, I'd rather hear it in challenged sound than many other recordings in glorious sound.

But that's me! The man was a freakin' musical force of nature.

Sure, almost any of the Verve fifties recordings, to amplify what Mike points out, are quite decent sounding, and a good entry point if fidelity matters do keep one at bay.

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The best recorded Bird session, I think, is the final Verve one, his incomplete Cole Porter session. Love for Sale is the best of the session, and you can really hear his sound on this one. The other small group sessions recorded for circa 1953-54 also sound quite good.

I've always found the Savoy studio sessions to be well recorded, and the source material has been well taken care of.

I also like the sound of the Quintet recordings on Dial, but the source material here is more haphazard and seems to have been less well preserved.

If I could only keep one jazz soloist in my music collection, it would definitely be Bird.

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If I could only keep one jazz soloist in my music collection, it would definitely be Bird.

Not so sure that I would disagree with you.

Look, I've heard talk for a long time about going "beyond Bird". That's bullshit. You can't go beyond Bird, because Bird was everything. If it existed in life, it was in his playing at some point.

Now, what you can do, and what I'm a big believer in, is going different than Bird. Bird's way was just one way, and there's no limit to the number of ways there are to go. Never has been, and hopefully never will be.

But no matter what way you go, you're not going to go "beyond" where Bird got, nor "beyond" what Bird was. Such a place does not exist. If you can do so well as to get to where Bird got going your own way (and maybe, maybe, a few people have), you've been blessed.

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When I first started listening to jazz, about fourteen years ago, I had a very hard time with the recording quality of music before the advent of magnetic tape (in the 1950s). So I didn't get into Bird and Diz and all the rest until a few years had gone by. It happened, I recall, in the late 90s/early 2000 that I finally learned how to listen *past* the clicks, pops and hiss. Now I listen to jazz from all eras (plus blues, country, calipso, etc). I think it's just a matter of experience. The more you know and the more you hear, the more you are capable of hearing.

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Thanks goodness for CDs! When I started listening to jazz in the mid-60s, I NEVER saw a Bird record in the stores. I believe that they were all out of print.

I have one Savoy studio CD and two Dial CDs. I have been meaning to get the 3 CD set of those from Your Music to complete my collection in that regard.

A few years ago I bought the box of Savoy Live recordings which I enjoy, but not as much as the studio work. I have not listened to it all; I usually break out a new CD from that set every Jan. 1. So far I have found what seems like too much repetition in the Live box.

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First Bird I heard was when I was 15 or 16. This one, purchased from a Treasure City cutout bin for $1.99:

43_1_b.JPG

Come to find out years later that it was a combination of the Birdland date w/Fats, Bud & Blakey mixed in w/a few Royal Roost airshots w/KD, Haig, etc, but no matter.

The sound on this album is not the best (I've since heard far worst, but at the time, this was the worst I'd heard). The first track was a "KoKo" that was so damn fast that I, not yet even knowing about "Cherokee"" didn't have even half a clue as to what was going on. That was followed by a "Round Midnight" that was so slow that I, not yet having a real clue about ballads, couldn't get into. So I'm thinking, "Yeah, this guy can play fast, but big deal".

Then...

Cut 3 on Side 1 was the Birdland "Cool Blues". Now this was a 12 bar swinging little riff tune, and that was something that I'd learned a little someting about in the year or so I'd been somewhat obsessively exploring jazz. And I could tell from the gitgo that, crappy sound wuality or not, this was no ordinary saxophonist. The phrasing of the lines was as free and open as could possibly be, the lines took liberties with the basic harmony far beyond anything I'd yet heard, and the whole solo just seemed to be a journey of damn near epic proportions told with an offhand ease that made the reality of the content all the more staggering.

"Well yeah, this guy can play!"

The next, & final cut, was "Ornithology" from the same date. This was a long cut, w/exquisite solos by all. By the time it was over, I was in a daze.

"Holy fukkin' shit - so THIS is why everybody shits themselves over this Charlie Parker guy. Yeah, I get it now."

Well, I really didn't get it then, and maybe still don't fully get it. But damn, I was 15 or 16, the record had crappy sound, and I still got something, something that stuck so deep that it's never left. Maybe it was the fact that my first exposure to Bird was some live shit as opposed to studio, but the "I can't really get into it because of the sound quality" line is one that I refuse to accept as anything other than a cop-out, no matter how genuine the sentiment may be.

I say this with nothing but love, but also with nothing but total seriousness:

Listen, motherfuckers, LISTEN.

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Only about 2% of my collection (about 800 jazz CD's) is of recordings made prior to 1955. It's all a matter of spending priorities (most importantly), and also the time I have available to listen to things. I buy what I like best, pure and simple.

That said, I do own three Parker CD's -- Massey Hall, the new Town Hall, and the complete master takes of "with Strings". And many, many years ago, I had a copy of the "Bird" movie soundtrack, which I didn't keep long.

Town Hall is my favorite of the three.

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Only about 2% of my collection (about 800 jazz CD's) is of recordings made prior to 1955. It's all a matter of spending priorities (most importantly), and also the time I have available to listen to things. I buy what I like best, pure and simple.

So what do you like best - music or time frames?

Sorry, that's a Nessa in abstentia question I know, :g but knowing what you do like, I can only say that it's all there in Bird, and in a form that's a lot more "organic" than what was to follow.

Not to dismiss or imply any belittlement of what came after, it's some of my favorite music too, but I'm of the mind that an appreciation of the offshoots without an appreciation of the grandeur of the source is kind of a "tourist-y" thing to do. Which is fine if being a tourist is what makes you happy. No shame there, a pefectly wonderful life can be had. Just know it for what it is, and know where to look for something else if and when the gnawing feeling that "something's missing" should ever arise.

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First Bird I heard was when I was 15 or 16. This one, purchased from a Treasure City cutout bin for $1.99:

43_1_b.JPG

Come to find out years later that it was a combination of the Birdland date w/Fats, Bud & Blakey mixed in w/a few Royal Roost airshots w/KD, Haig, etc, but no matter.

The sound on this album is not the best (I've since heard far worst, but at the time, this was the worst I'd heard). The first track was a "KoKo" that was so damn fast that I, not yet even knowing about "Cherokee"" didn't have even half a clue as to what was going on. That was followed by a "Round Midnight" that was so slow that I, not yet having a real clue about ballads, couldn't get into. So I'm thinking, "Yeah, this guy can play fast, but big deal".

Then...

Cut 3 on Side 1 was the Birdland "Cool Blues". Now this was a 12 bar swinging little riff tune, and that was something that I'd learned a little someting about in the year or so I'd been somewhat obsessively exploring jazz. And I could tell from the gitgo that, crappy sound wuality or not, this was no ordinary saxophonist. The phrasing of the lines was as free and open as could possibly be, the lines took liberties with the basic harmony far beyond anything I'd yet heard, and the whole solo just seemed to be a journey of damn near epic proportions told with an offhand ease that made the reality of the content all the more staggering.

"Well yeah, this guy can play!"

The next, & final cut, was "Ornithology" from the same date. This was a long cut, w/exquisite solos by all. By the time it was over, I was in a daze.

"Holy fukkin' shit - so THIS is why everybody shits themselves over this Charlie Parker guy. Yeah, I get it now."

Well, I really didn't get it then, and maybe still don't fully get it. But damn, I was 15 or 16, the record had crappy sound, and I still got something, something that stuck so deep that it's never left. Maybe it was the fact that my first exposure to Bird was some live shit as opposed to studio, but the "I can't really get into it because of the sound quality" line is one that I refuse to accept as anything other than a cop-out, no matter how genuine the sentiment may be.

I say this with nothing but love, but also with nothing but total seriousness:

Listen, motherfuckers, LISTEN.

Jim, were you playing jazz this early? If not, did hearing him make you want to play jazz?

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Also, the very best Bird is often heard on some pretty rough sounding airshots. The Dial/Savoy/Verve trilogy (none of which is in anything resembling "poor" sound) is far more often than not just the tip of the iceberg. Live Bird is a universe unto itself, a freakin' glorious universe, and the sound quality often requires active listener engagement.

Deal with it.

What happened to the Love & Peace Jsngry? 'C'mon man, let's deal with reality! You can't expect a kid listening to Flock Of Seagulls or Led Zep to Soulive to Song For My Father, ect, ect to jump right into Dial-era Bird and dig that scratchy, lame audio.

Some shit just comes later. And to be quite honest, the Max/Al Haig/Percy Heath sides from '53 are still my favorites.

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Jim, were you playing jazz this early? If not, did hearing him make you want to play jazz?

Started "playing" jazz as a freshman in high school, thanks to an active & energetic (if totally educationless in matters such as theory) "stage band" program. My interest in the music both as player & listener was both initially triggered and nurtured in that setting. The program had been ran by former journeyman type big-band trumpeter who had left the year before I got there, and his successor was a veteran local "club date" guy who had spent time out in L.A. in the 50s. Between the program & the then-exploding "jazz-rock" thing (ranging from electric Miles to Chicago/BS&T/etc.) it was a good time to get interested, as there were both outlets & similarly inclined peers.

Hearing Bird, didn't make me want to play the music. I was already wanting that. What it did do was to wake me up that there was a level of jazz that was waaaaaay beyond most of what I had been into. Even if I had no idea as to the specifics of how it was made, I knew enough (and could feel enough) to know that this was something altogether different. The only things that had hit me this hard then were Trane's Transition, Ornette's Free Jazz & Blakey's Indestructable.

So no, it didn't "set me on the path", so to speak, but it certainly cleared & clarified the path that was already beginning to form. In retrospect, yeah, it probably changed my life.

I still got that Everest LP, btw. Still play it, and still recommend it to those so inclined. Helluva side.

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Also, the very best Bird is often heard on some pretty rough sounding airshots. The Dial/Savoy/Verve trilogy (none of which is in anything resembling "poor" sound) is far more often than not just the tip of the iceberg. Live Bird is a universe unto itself, a freakin' glorious universe, and the sound quality often requires active listener engagement.

Deal with it.

What happened to the Love & Peace Jsngry? 'C'mon man, let's deal with reality! You can't expect a kid listening to Flock Of Seagulls or Led Zep to Soulive to Song For My Father, ect, ect to jump right into Dial-era Bird and dig that scratchy, lame audio.

Love & Peace eventually collides with Reality, and choices eventually have to be made.

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My other "excuse" (and this probably really is just an excuse), is that when I first got into jazz (circa early 90's), there seemed like so much Parker out there -- literally, in terms of the shear number of recordings available. But also in terms of cats that were tryin' to cop Parker's style.

Now I free admit that this is now just an excuse, because there are plenty of resources (here, in particular, and elsewhere) to help one narrow down the vast number of choices.

The other thing that limits me (self-limiting, to be sure), is that bebop changes both wear me out, and also (often) bore me to tears. (Oh god, here's the turn-around, again -- and again -- and again -- and again). Head, solo, solo, solo, head. Head, solo, solo, solo, head.)

Now intellectually I know there's more out there than just that, but years of hearing enough changes to drive a person batty has soured me on that era.

It ain't right, but it is so.

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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