Personnel: Charlie Parker (alto saxophone); Miles Davis, Red Rodney (trumpet); Duke Jordan, Al Haig (piano); Tommy Potter (bass guitar); Max Roach, Roy Haynes (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Kirk Felton.
These poorly recorded live Charlie Parker dates were captured in 1948 and 1950 and were originally released as two separate LPs, Bird on 52nd Street and Bird at St. Nick's. The personnel for the 1948 gig included a fledgling Miles Davis on trumpet, Duke Jordan on piano, Tommy Potter on bass, and Max Roach on drums, while the 1950 date has Red Rodney on trumpet, Al Haig on piano, Roy Haynes on drums, and Potter again on bass. There's little doubt that these were hot nights for both units, and Parker's solos, particularly on a smokin' "Confirmation" from the 1950 St. Nick's date, are often nothing short of amazing, but unfortunately the fidelity here is awful, bordering on unintentional white noise, and the poor sound quality, which still can't quite mask the power of these performances, makes listening to these tracks more frustrating than fruitful. These sides are certainly historically viable, and dedicated Parker collectors and admirers will undoubtedly be drawn to hear them at least once, but this reissue is really an exercise in what could have been, a missed opportunity to hear two wonderful bands led by an impassioned Parker in full flight. In the end, it's a bit like hearing Parker from the next room. ~ Steve Leggett