Sunday, March 20, 2011

Great Jazz Albums (IMO) #25

Charlie Parker.  Charlie Parker with Strings:  The Master Takes (1995; recorded 1947-1952).  Charlie "Bird" Parker is probably the greatest saxophone player of all time and, after Louis Armstrong, the most influential jazz musician.  As Gary Giddins wrote in Visions of Jazz, "Parker was the only musician after Armstrong to influence all of jazz and almost every aspect of American music -- its instrumentalists and singers, composers and arrangers."  His seminal recordings in the mid-to-late 1940s (especially those on Savoy and Dial) are remarkable for displaying Parker's brilliant playing and creative genius, and also as historic landmarks of the development of  bebopCharlie Parker with Strings is a departure, and at the time considered by purists to be a commercial sell-out.  Recorded with a small orchestral string session and jazz rhythm section, Parker forgoes the breakneck speed typical of his earlier recordings for a more lyrical and simplified approach.  The album consists of standards instead of original compositions, and the highlights, of which there are many, include Just Friends and April in Paris.  As one critic put it: "The music on this collection is lush, poetic, romantic as hell, and the perfect antidote to a surfeit of jazz records featuring undisciplined blowing. There's a lot of jazz, but there's only one Bird."

[Related posts:  Really Great Jazz Albums,  #1 (Hank Mobley); , #2 (Horace Silver), #3 (Sonny Rollins), #4 (Sonny Clark), #5 (Dexter Gordon), #6 (Cannonball Adderley), #7 (Bill Evans), #8 (McCoy Tyner), #9 (Clifford Brown), #10 (Sinatra), #11 (Monk), #12 (Kenny Dorham), #13 (Coltrane), #14 (Duke Ellington), #15 (Miles Davis), #16 (Wayne Shorter), #17 (Dinah Washington); #18 (Sarah Vaughan); #19 (Stan Getz); #20 (Blue Mitchell); #21 (Gene Ammons); #22 (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers); #23 (Red Garland); #24 (Ella Fitzgerald)]


Post a Comment