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Charlie Parker | The Savoy 10-inch LP Collection

if you don't have any Bird in your collection, you need some. This set is a good start.

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THE PRESS RELEASE:The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection spotlights Charlie Parker’s groundbreaking bebop sessions for the legendary jazz label Savoy, spanning 1944 to 1948. The deluxe, four-LP box set — also available digitally — features newly restored and remastered audio, faithfully reproduced artwork from the original 10-inch albums, plus a booklet containing vintage photos, rare ephemera and new liner notes from Grammy Award-winning journalist and author Neil Tesser. These historic recordings, reissued as the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of Parker’s birth, feature such jazz greats as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, Bud Powell and Max Roach. The 28 tracks that make up The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection are some of the world’s earliest bebop recordings, including takes from a November 1945 date that is often referred to as The Greatest Jazz Session Ever, featuring Davis, Roach and Curley Russell appearing as Charlie Parker’s Reboppers. The tracks were compiled by Savoy and released over the next several years as the four LPs reissued in this box set: New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 1 (1950), New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 2 (1951), as well as Volumes 3 and 4, both released in 1952. Nearly all of the compositions heard in this collection are originals by Parker, with a few contributions by Miles Davis, and an original tune from guitarist Lloyd “Tiny” Grimes — who led Parker in the session for Tiny’s Tempo. Highlights include the upbeat Now’s the Time, the bluesy Parker’s Mood and Constellation, which Tessler notes “seems to anticipate the free-jazz energy solos of the 1960s.” Also notable is Ko-Ko, featuring an impressive improvisation from the saxophonist, as well as one of Bird’s most recognizable tunes, Billie’s Bounce, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. Though multiple styles of bop would become mainstream by the end of the ’50s, these recordings mark the beginning of a new era and a radical shift in musical trends. It was a sound that, Tesser declares, was “at once liberating but also threatening. Charlie Parker and his fellow instigators…sparked a cultural earthquake that upended the music landscape for decades.”

MY TWO CENTS: This one’s obviously about the packaging and presentation to a large degree. But if you don’t already have Charlie Parker anthologies in your collection, you need some. And you could do worse than to start with this set. For the record: The video below was recorded a few years after this set and features a tune that’s not in the box. But Parker footage is rare enough that I wanted to include it here anyway. So sue me.