Charlie Parker, The Jazz Archives

Britt Robson

By Britt Robson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Jazz Archives

Charlie Parker

The classic song selection and typically spellbinding, virtuosic performances more than compensate for the lack of credits and occasionally spotty recording quality on this collection. Those interested in sixteenth-note saxophone wailing magnificently at breakneck speed have “Round About Midnight” (not to be confused with Monk's “Round Midnight”), “Bird's Nest” and the classic “Koko,” which fits the description writer Gary Giddins gave of another Parker take on this tune, about the sound of his alto being “fat and sensuous yet jagged and hard.”

The many, moody iterations of jazz genius.

If you want Parker the impetuous yet imperious master of rhythm, melody and harmony, check the slight, inscrutable pauses that allow “Bird” to flit from the rooftops with derring-do on “Don't Blame Me,” the edgy élan of “Embraceable You,” or the nasal-toned sustained notes followed by mellifluous modulations. There's also a fabulous performance with Dizzy Gillespie on the latter's classic bop standard, “Groovin'High,” and with a trumpeter that certainly sounds like Dizzy on “Night in Tunisia.” There's a typically gorgeous rendition of the Parker gem “Ornithology,” some split-second timing on the unison head arrangement to “Marmaduke” and Parker in a relatively rare wistful mood on “My Old Flame.”