Charlie Parker: The Gypsy
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948 (Atlantic 92911)
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