Charlie Parker: Blues for Alice


Blues for Alice


Charlie Parker (alto sax)


Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker On Verve Vol. 6 (Verve 837149-2)

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Charlie Parker (alto sax), Red Rodney (trumpet), John Lewis (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums).

Composed by Charlie Parker


Recorded: New York, August 8, 1951


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

"Blues for Alice" is a classic old-school jazz jam that showcases Charlie Parker's innovative sax style within a context that he singlehandedly pioneered. He blows his heart out for you, reveling in some imaginative musical statements along the way, and is followed ably by his collaborators. The track is upbeat and swingin', as the immediately identifiable tenor Parker sound cuts through the mix and squawks out of the box with force.

The sound of the cut is stereotypical of the limitations engineers encountered while recording bands long ago, but the rough edges and slightly imbalanced presentation (Parker is obviously standing closer to his microphone than the others are standing in relation to theirs) do not stop the music from gliding atop the sounds of tonal elation. The chord changes are atypical of what is commonly known as "blues," in that the form is extended beyond the genre's regularly expected form. Also, the tone of the recording is much more positive than is normal for such a genre as "blues." However, transforming the aural character of pre-established musical forms into something uncharacteristically offbeat was one of the things that Parker did best, and, here, no exceptions to the rule are made.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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