Charlie Parker: Embraceable You
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Best of the Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings (Savoy SVY 17120)
Composed by George and Ira Gershwin.
Recorded: October 28. 1947
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
We tend to remember 1940s bebop as fast and furious music, full of intricate melodies and hard-edged solos. But here Parker contributes one of the finest ballad performances in the history of jazz, a solo that redefined how slow, moody songs could be performed by a small combo. Bird barely glances at Gershwin's melody, and instead constructs a thematic improvisation, which develops a short motif—similar to the "You must remember this" phrase from "As Time Goes By"—that he states in the opening measure. A musicologist could spend a hundred pages trying to describe what Parker tossed out in almost as many seconds. But it's better just to sit back and enjoy this example of the great altoist playing at the top of his game.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia