Charlie Parker: Cool Blues
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Charlie Parker at Jirayr Zorthian's Ranch, July 14, 1952 (Rare Live 88622)
Frank Morgan (alto sax), Don Wilkerson (tenor sax), Amos Trice (piano), Dave Bryant (bass).
Composed by Charlie Parker.
Recorded: Jirayr Zorthian's Ranch, Altadena, California, July 14, 1952
Rating: 80/100 (learn more)
Without invoking the laws of physics, let's just stipulate that there are a finite number of Charlie Parker recordings. Yet, more than a half-century after Bird's death, new releases still trickle in every so often. Unfortunately, if this murkily recorded blues jam is any evidence, it looks like the bottom of the barrel is nigh to being scraped. The 12-and-a-half-minute performance is taken from a 74-minute CD produced from tapes recorded at a party held by the notoriously eccentric Turkish-American visual artist, the late Jirayr Zorthian. The sound quality is among the worst of the many poorly recorded Parker live takes this writer has heard. Besides the oppressive tape noise and some background hubbub, about all that can be distinguished are the sax soloists and Larance Marable's drums. Of course, every Parker recording is of interest, but this is less interesting than most. Parker is in decent form, but he scarcely plays a phrase that can't be heard to better effect elsewhere in his recorded oeuvre. The presence of a young Frank Morgan on alto seems to rouse Parker a bit, but overall this track is ephemera, likely to appeal only to the most rabid collector of Bird's recordings.
Reviewer: Chris Kelsey