Charlie Parker: Don't Blame Me


Don't Blame Me


Charlie Parker (alto sax)


The Dial Masters: Original Choice Takes (Spotlite 1092)

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Charlie Parker (alto sax), Miles Davis (trumpet), Duke Jordan (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), Max Roach (drums).

Composed by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields


Recorded: New York, November 4, 1947


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

This track may not be as well known as Bird's version of "Embraceable You," recorded a few days earlier, but it still ranks as one of Parker's finest ballad performances. Miles tackles the intro, but the altoist takes center stage with an opening chorus that barely touches on the melody. Parker handles this song with such effortless mastery and with so many melodic ideas flowing from his horn that anything the other musicians might add would be anticlimactic. Miles makes the smart decision, and follows the leader with an understated solo that looks forward to his cool stylings of the next decade. Somehow this track gets left off the "greatest hits" compilations, but it may be the closest thing we have to a definitive alto sax treatment of the Jimmy McHugh standard.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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