A curate's egg!,
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This review is from: Early Bird (Audio CD)
The leaflet provided with this CD trumpets the recordings as a vital part of jazz history. The claim is justified for the first eight tunes, recorded in 1940, are supposedly the earliest recordings attributed to the legendary Charlie Parker. It is therefore a great pity that the sound quality should be so very poor. In an age when so much can be done the conclusion must be that there has been absolutely no attempt at re-mastering and the impression remains that the CD is simply a lift from the LP. The sound still retains all the creaks and hisses associated with an elderly 78. The ever present background noise greatly detracts from a proper appreciation of Parker's dominant solo work and the contribution of the Jay McShann Orchestra
The last nine tunes, recorded in 1943, although far from perfect have a far better sound quality and provide a good indication of the Kansas sound of the then Jay McShann outfit. The band has a certain feel of Count Basie about it and "One o'Clock Jump" is used as a theme. There is however a marked difference in the contrasting styles of the piano playing of the two band leaders. McShann's robust style is given an ample outing including the splendid "Vine Street Boogie". The personnel is uncertain but is believed to include Paul Quinchette (tenor) and Gene Ramey (bass). Gus Johnson (drums) is listed as being present on the 1940 recordings.