Charlie Parker with Stan Kenton: My Funny Valentine


My Funny Valentine


Charlie Parker (alto sax)


Live with the Big Bands (Jazz Factory 22883)

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Charlie Parker (alto sax), Stan Kenton (piano, leader),

Sam Noto, Vince Minichelli, Buddy Childers, Don Smith, Stu Williamson (trumpets), Milt Gold, Joe Ciavardone, Frank Rosolino, George Roberts (trombones), Charlie Mariano, Dave Schildkraut, Mike Cicchetti, Bill Perkins, Tony Ferina (reeds), Bob Lesher (guitar), Don Bagley (bass), Stan Levey (drums)


Composed by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart; arranged by Bill Holman


Recorded: live at the Civic Auditorium, Portland, Oregon, February 25, 1954


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Yes, Charlie Parker actually recorded with Stan Kenton! And unlike the electronically created collaborations that are released today, the only "electronic miracle" in this case is that someone had the good sense to record the concert. In 1954, Kenton presented a package tour with Bird, Dizzy Gillespie, Candido and Lee Konitz as featured soloists with his orchestra. While Konitz's performances from the tour have not surfaced, a week after this concert, he recorded the same Bill Holman arrangement of "Valentine" in the studio that Bird had performed live with the band. Konitz's cool, detached performance pales in comparison to Bird's white-hot intensity. Set to an aggressive Latin beat that later gives way to a powerful 4/4 swing, Parker stays close to the melody at first, using his searing tone and flawless melodic sense to accent the important notes. When he starts to improvise, things really heat up as he builds to an astounding climax, where a stutter-tongued figure tied to a descending idea moves up in pitch and intensity until he's wailing over the Kenton brass section. One of Bird's best.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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