Charlie Parker: Just Friends
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes (Verve 2354)
Bronislaw Gimpel, Max Hollander, Milton Lomask (violins), Frank Brieff (viola), Frank Miller (cello), Meyer Rosen (harp), Stan Freeman (piano), Mitch Miller (oboe).
Arranged and conducted by Jimmy Carroll. Composed by John Klenner and Sam Lewis.
Recorded: New York, November 30, 1949
Rating: 87/100 (learn more)
Parker was delighted with this track, and cited it as one of his favorite performances. Certainly he enjoyed the apparent legitimization of his artistry by the presence of a small string orchestra, But the arrangement is insipid, and effectively destroys the value of matching this bebop legend with a quasi-classical ensemble. The altoist, for his part, plays smoothly and with a sure technical command, but nothing here will make you forget his finer Savoy or Dial sides. True, there is a certain fascination in hearing Bird take wing in such an unusual setting, yet I suspect that this recording will be remembered by later generations of jazz fans as a curio rather than a legitimate jazz masterpiece.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia