Unknown Contributor Roles: Charles Parker; Charlie Parker .
This compilation is sequenced in an odd but fascinating manner--its 26 tracks are grouped in pairs, each pair made up of two different live versions of the same song. Given that alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was possibly the most extemporaneous and most devotedly improvisatory soloist during the bebop era of the '40s and early '50s, the sequencing makes such perfect sense you'll find yourself wondering why more of the dozens of Parker retrospectives don't do the same. In each pair of tracks, the bare outlines of the song remain the same in both versions, but Parker's fluid, graceful solos invariably go into entirely different directions, sometimes following the melody sedately but more often shattering it entirely before reassembling it. As usual with Laserlight's compilations, liner notes and attributions are minimal, but here and there one recognizes Miles Davis' trumpet and Milt Jackson's vibes. As always, though, the focus is entirely on Parker.