One of the most legendary jazz players of all time, Charlie Parker is imitated and emulated, but he has never been equaled. "Once There Was Bird" is a showcase for the genius at his best.
Personnel: Charlie Parker (alto saxophone); Flip Phillips (tenor saxophone); Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Red Norvo (vibraphone); Teddy Wilson (piano); Slam Stewart (bass); Specs Powell, J.C. Heard (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York on June 6, 1945. Includes liner notes by Martin Williams.
Personnel: Charlie Parker (alto saxophone); Flip Phillips (tenor saxophone); Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet); Teddy Wilson (piano); J.C. Heard, Specs Powell (drums).
Liner Note Author: Martin Williams .
Recording information: New York, NY (06/06/1945).
Many reissues of Parker's Dial sessions tend to suffer from greatly inferior sound quality and chaotic chronological disorder. This collection, however, has faithfully restored (both sonically and discographically) the results of a single session from 1945. One of Parker's earliest studio dates as a prominent sideman, this also features Dizzy Gillespie, vibraphonist Red Norvo and bass player Slam Stewart (who has the distinctive, charming quirk of humming his solos as he bows them). While the feel and themes of these compositions are still somewhat rooted in conventional swing tradition (Parker and Gillespie would soon enough break away into fully modernist pieces), the playing here is pure, cutting edge be-bop.
Dramatic, exuberant blowing from both Bird and Diz fills "Get Happy," "Hallelujah," "Slam Slam Blues" and "Congo Blues." These four tracks are the body of the session, and the album includes incomplete takes and several alternate versions, allowing the listener to chart the evolution of each tune. This disc will certainly be of interest to collectors and casual listeners alike.