Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crate Diggin' Box Me Up Part 2

Jumped the gun with the last post, that's what surreptitiously blogging at work will do for you. These are a couple of other boxes that I have been working my way through over the past couple of months.

Charlie Parker - Bird: Complete Charlie Parker on Verve (Verve, 1988) I used to borrow parts of this box in high school, that's how old it is. How my old Library got enough money to buy this monster new is another mystery. In my case, I got really lucky, finding the discs, though without box or liner booklet for under $20. But the music is the most important thing, and there is a ton of it here. Parker recorded in many different settings for Norman Granz's label, everything from fronting schmaltzy string sections (my least favorite) to big band sessions, "south of the border" Latin bands, familiar bebop quartet performances, and Jazz at the Philharmonic live blowouts. Parker still had quite of fire left in his playing, but it stretched out over the course of ten CDs. While the alternates and false starts can be a little disconcerting, the overall arc of the music is fascinating, and definitely worth consideration for bebop aficionados. Bird: Complete Charlie Parker on Verve -

Cecil Taylor - The Complete Remastered Recordings (Black Saint/Soul Note, 2011) The great Italian jazz record labels Black Saint and Soul Note have been re-issuing some of their most well known musicians (I'm coveting the David Murray set, but torn about re-buying music I already own.) On this set, included are the very nice solo recital Olu Iwa, with its mix of lengthy explorations, and short bursts of creativity. Winged Serpent finds Taylor in full large band mode, with torrid big band passages, with a mix of American and European musicians. Even more impressive are the two discs that make up Taylor's historic meeting with drummer Max Roach. Both are fearless in this improvised duet, neither intimidated by the fearsome reputation of the other, but rather meeting on common ground to develop music in the moment. Finally Olu Iwa allows Taylor's small bands Unit and Quartet to range free and furiously over lengthy slabs of intensely beautiful music. The Complete Remastered Recordings -

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