A Studio Chronicle 1940-1948 Box set, Original recording remastered
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One of the half dozen truly crucial figures in the history of Jazz, Parker was a saxophone player of genius. After performing as sideman in a series of swing bands (Jay MacShann, Earl Hines, Billy Eckstine), Parker embarked on a series of recordings with respected collaborators (Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Bud Powell) that without exaggeration, changed the direction of jazz forever. The most important of these key cuts are featured here, remastered to a level of clarity not heard before.
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Whilst I have purchased music including much jazz for over 4 decades, I have rarely gone back to recordings made before my childhood, with early blues being the few exceptions. However, my interest in Charlie has really been aroused by watching a series on the history of jazz, a series of audio lectures my brother-in-law gave me (Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks To Fusion), and finally the Clint Eastwood directed film Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD].
So what have we got here - a bit of a treasure trove in many ways I should say. However, do not expect modern day fidelity as these are old and some tracks have been taken of scratchy 78s, but if you have a genuine interest in modern jazz and its evolution, then there is much to enjoy here. You are provided with the location, date and personnel for each separate group of recordings and of course there are so many well known names that come and go such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Max Roach, Miles Davis, Erroll Garner. Parker's playing at it's best was so fluid and appeared to be effortless.
To me Coltrane will always be THE MAN when it comes to the sax, however it is always worth remembering that some of the biggest giants are so huge because they're already standing on the shoulders of other giants, and Parker surely was a giant. I would imagine that anyone playing the sax in the 50s would have had Parker as some sort of influence or bench mark.
Whilst there are some tracks in this box I know I will skip, I have playing at the moment "Yardbird Suite" on CD 3 and to this old (Dead)head, it sure sounds sweet.
The package is a slipcase with 5 jewel cases inside. Each CD has information relating to the music contained within. For such a cheap box set, I've got no complaints.
Like I said, this set is not a complete set of recordings, but is the best selection available, and the omissions are not anything to lose sleep over.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
and released as recently as 2003, is a wonderful work, comprising
the Savoy and Dial recordings that CP prepared in the early to mid-1940's,
approximately at the same time WWII was going on.
The quality of the playing, craftmanship, articulatedness, world-class
stature of the musican, the ease, skill and smoothness of the instrument
are all there, as is the case on CP's other released.
The tracks are unique over 5 CD's, except repeated 6 or more times
as heard also on the fantastic MILES DAVIS - FIRST MILES, sv-0159 on
the Savoy label, complete with outtakes lasting 44 minutes (Nippon,
Columbia, Japan) which I cannot more strongly recommend, as is the case
with this release.
For anyone enjoying the classic, world-stature of CP, this release
is the place to start, and then theThe Complete Verve Master Takes
available elsewhere, on amazon.com
As for the audio quality, 98% is simply flawless over the 5 CD's...and
I do mean impeccable audio, high-end dynamic range, with the full body
of the saxophone plainly heard. The only exception are maybe 4 or 5
tracks, which inexplicably have plenty of snap, crackles and pops,
which sticks out immediately, but lastly less than 15 minutes overall.
The design and artwork of the release is effective, with each CD labeled
A to E, in this boxset release.
The price is competitive and it's comprehensive and complete, with no
To be clear, these 5 CD's are *not * solo after solo after solo in
the 100's which is what sometimes one gets elsewhere, such as in
the Dean Benedetti work. Nope. These are full numbers, composed very
thoughtfully, melodically, professionally, emotionally, effectively.
There are some wonderful vocal numbers, both male and female, over
perhaps 8 or more tracks, that are a treat to listen to.
At the same time, being a CP fan, I must recommend anyone enjoying
this one, to also consider Bird at Birdland, and some other ones
too, which are boxsets as well, and unique performances.
Can't go wrong with this artist or this particular release edition.