Charlie Parker - The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch LP Collection (5x10" Vinyl Box Set)

Charlie Parker - The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch LP Collection (5x10" Vinyl Box Set)
Price: 144.90€
Format: 10"
Label: VERVE
Availability: In Stock


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5 x 10" Vinyl Box Set Collecting Five Albums Bird Recorded for Norman Granz's Pre-Verve Imprints Together for the First Time; Audio Remastered from the Original Analog Tapes by Alex Abrash of AA Mastering

Charlie "Bird" Parker, an architect of modern music nearly universally regarded as the greatest alto saxophonist who ever lived, released five 10-inch LPs via Mercury Records and producer Norman Granz's pre-Verve label Clef Records in the early 1950s. For the first time, these building-blocks of bebop – 1950's Charlie Parker With Strings, 1952's Bird and Diz and Charlie Parker Plays South of the Border, 1953's Charlie Parker With Strings (Vol. 2) and 1954's Charlie Parker, have been packaged together in honor of Bird's centenary dubbed Bird 100. Parker's complete recordings from this important cornerstone of his career will be released on Verve/UMe as The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch LP Collection. All five records have been newly remastered, pressed to 10" black vinyl, and housed in faithful reproductions of the original packaging.

The boxed set, which features David Stone Martin's strikingly illustrated original sleeve art, doubles as a tip of the hat to the 10-inch, a format popular in the late 1940s between the 78 and the 12-inch. It also contains an elegant booklet with rare photos, detailed session information, and essays by pianist-journalist Ethan Iverson and author David Ritz. All of the records included except Bird and Diz have been out of print on vinyl since their original releases more than 60 years ago (although the recent iteration of the album was not the original 10-inch). These attributes make The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch Collection the most detailed, collectible presentation yet of Bird's fruitful 1940s-to-mid-'50s streak before his untimely passing in 1955 at age 34.

Some jazz-with-strings albums are hit-or-miss; Bird's is a grand slam. He seized on the format; his Strings volumes are two of his recorded pinnacles. Vol. 1 begins with his immortal version of Sam Lewis and John Klenner's "Just Friends," which contains one of the most stirring and technically brilliant improvised saxophone solos ever recorded. Thomas Adair and Matt Dennis's can't-catch-a-break lament "Everything Happens to Me" receives a heavenly lift when Bird "sings" it on his horn. His take on Rodgers and Hart's "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" shows how Parker could channel a romantic ballad naturally as if breathing. Vol. 2 is just as inspired, conjuring a nocturnal feel via George and Ira Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me," Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz's "Dancing in the Dark," and Cole Porter's "Easy to Love."

Bird's most famous foil was the brilliant trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and Bird and Diz is what its title suggests: a portrait of the pair at full tilt. But it has historical and artistic import beyond that: Bird and Diz documents the only joint session with Bird, Diz, and the revolutionary pianist Thelonious Monk, who made intellectual, hard-charging music. "Bloomdido," a Parker original that went on to be a standard, is toe-tapping and relentlessly melodic. The percolating melody to "An Oscar for Treadwell" is traced through the changes to "I Got Rhythm" in C. "Leap Frog," a co-write between Parker and trumpeter Benny Harris is head-spinning in its velocity and quicksilver innovation.

Parker and Gillespie dabbled in Afro-Cuban forms, most notably with the pioneering Latin vocalist and percussionist Machito. South of the Border is a testament to Bird's transcultural connection. In Iverson's essay, the saxophonist Henry Threadgill notes "the rassling match when the modern jazz guys came in and tried to play with the Latin cats in the Forties." Bird, however, did this effortlessly: "Charlie Parker could bring the music together, but as soon as Bird stopped, the rassling match would begin again." Parker is in his element here, especially on Óscar Gómez and Albert Hammond's zestful "Un Poquito De Tu Amor," Zequinha de Abreu's effervescent "Tico Tico," and Manuel Ponce's yearning "Estrellita."

Bird recorded his self-titled album in 1952 and 1953 with two quartets featuring drummer Max Roach: one side with bassist Percy Heath and pianist Al Haig, and the other with bassist Teddy Kotick and pianist Hank Jones. The title is essential because of the strength of its performances, the clean recording quality relative to Bird's earlier works, and its singularity as his only studio LP in a quartet setting. Although the end of his life was approaching, Bird more than proves his might on compositions now revered as calling-cards, like "Now's the Time," "Laird Baird," and "Confirmation."

Features:
• 5 x 10" vinyl box set
• Featuring Bird and Diz, Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker Plays South Of The Border, Charlie Parker With Strings and Charlie Parker With Strings (Vol. 2)
• Available together for the first time
• Audio remastered from the original analog tapes by Alex Abrash of AA Mastering
• Reproductions of David Stone Martin artwork
• 10" x 10" book with exclusive liner notes by Ethan Iverson, an essay by author David Ritz and full track-by-track session notes
• Custom slipcase packaging

Disc 1 - Charlie Parker With Strings (1950)

  1. April In Paris
  2. Summertime
  3. If I Should Lose You
  4. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
  5. Everything Happens To Me
  6. Just Friends

Disc 2 - Charlie Parker With Strings Vol. 2 (1953)

  1. Laura
  2. They Can't Take That Away From Me
  3. Out Of Nowhere
  4. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)
  5. Dancing In The Dark
  6. Easy To Love
  7. I'm In The Mood For Love
  8. I'll Remember April

Disc 3 - Bird & Diz (1952)

  1. Bloomdido
  2. My Melancholy Baby
  3. Relaxing With Lee<
  4. Passport
  5. Leap Frog
  6. An Oscar For Treadwell
  7. Mohawk
  8. Visa

Disc 4 - Charlie Parker Plays South of the Border (1952)

  1. Tico Tico
  2. Un Poquito De Tu Amor
  3. My Little Suede Shoes
  4. Estrellita
  5. Begin The Beguine
  6. La Paloma
  7. La Cucuracha
  8. Mama Inez

Disc 5 - Charlie Parker (1954)

  1. Now's The Time
  2. I Remember You
  3. Confirmation
  4. Chi Chi
  5. I Hear Music (a.k.a. The Song Is You)
  6. Laird Baird
  7. Kim
  8. Cosmic Rays

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