Very nice, if not exciting stuff by Bird
Richard LeFebvere | Chicago, Il, USA | 08/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an interesting, slightly uneven compilation. Much of it is drawn from Charlie Parker's dates with string sections that sold so well in the early 1950's. Some of these arrangements may sounda bit corny, Mitch Miller style stuff, but some of them are very beautiful, among these "I'll Remember April" and "Dancing in the Dark." There's also an excellent big-band backing for "I can't Get Started" with features Oscar Peterson at piano. It's a great pleasure to hear Bird's sax blending in and out with the strings on many numbers, as if this was just another small group session. Speaking of which, those selections are the true highlight of this album, especially "Ballade," a 1950 date with Coleman hawkins, hank Jones, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich, which is rich, emotive, surprising, and perfect midnight jazz. Also in this vein is another 1950 date, also with Rich, but this time featuring Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk (!) and Curly Russell on bass. And the purchase price is worth it just to hear "Embraceable You" with Rich, Brown, Jones, the amazing Roy Eldridge, and two of the great tenor sax men, Flip Phillips and Lester Young. This is a great introduction to Bird's sensitive standard side, much like My Favorite Things or the Johnny Hartman album for John Coltrane. In short, it's worth it."
Survey of a Master
Fly By Light | Atlanta, Georgia | 12/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If this survey is really representative, then Bird never really played anything bad. However, I've heard better stuff from him, like his upbeat rendition of Night and Day. Most of the cuts on this CD are Charlie Parker with orchestra. I have two problems with that: 1) whenever the strings come in, I always imagine that I hear Timmy calling for Lassie in the background; 2) Bird's improvisational playing is so far "beyond" straight orchestral playing that the two don't seem to blend seamlessly. The few small ensemble cuts are the highlights of this piece, but Bird himself is great throughout. I just wouldn't call it, "Best of" because I've heard better from him."