Charlie Parker: The Gypsy


The Gypsy


Charlie Parker (alto sax)


The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948 (Atlantic 92911)

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Charlie Parker (alto sax), Howard McGhee (trumpet), Jimmy Bunn (piano), Bob Kesterson (bass), Roy Porter (drums).

Recorded: Hollywood, July 29, 1946


Rating: 60/100 (learn more)

Bop's proudest soloist never forgave producer Ross Russell for releasing this exercise in self-humiliation (self-immolation?) that, with its session-mate "Lover Man," tests our bounds of compassion. While pathos can produce moving artistic experiences, Bird's abject ballad, recorded by a desperately sick man in a haze of competing intoxicants, is merely pathetic. We cringe at the performance, pity the performer, and ultimately forgive Ross Russell. After all, the strung-out soloist spent his entire life in extremis, so why not hear him at his nakedly revealing worst? As music, this 3-minute track is atrocious. As autobiography, it's in a class by itself.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


  • 1 Sven // Sep 07, 2008 at 09:16 AM
    Personally I find this to be one of the greatest solo sax recordings. Surely it's not an amazing display of technique, but it's probably one of the most sincere ballads out there.