Charlie Parker: The Gypsy

Bop's proudest soloist never forgave producer Ross Russell for releasing this exercise in self-humiliation (self-immolation?) that, with its session-mate "Lover Man," tests our bounds of compassion. While pathos can produce moving artistic experiences, Bird's abject ballad, recorded by a desperately sick man in a haze of competing intoxicants, is merely pathetic. We cringe at the performance, pity the performer, and ultimately forgive Ross Russell. After all, the strung-out soloist spent his entire life in extremis, so why not hear him at his nakedly revealing worst? As music, this 3-minute track is atrocious. As autobiography, it's in a class by itself.

November 05, 2007 · 1 comment


Charlie Parker: Moose the Mooche

The Dial Sessions mark Parker’s greatest legacy, and on his debut date for the label, the altoist is at top form. The lopsided melody reworks “I Got Rhythm” changes, and Parker floats out of the starting-gate with a sinuous improvisation that makes it all look so easy. Miles tries to follow with some of his bebop licks, but he is still several years away from finding his mature voice. Don’t miss Marmarosa’s intro and 16-bar solo, and hear why many think this under-recorded musician could have been one of the great modern jazz piano masters. A landmark bebop performance.

October 26, 2007 · 0 comments


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