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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2006
This is an absolutly marvellous example of what Jazz was and still should be (not because it's more mainstream than bebop, in any case I love them both). The joy of playing with friends on common grounds, the standards and blues repertoire. I think I own everything Bird has ever played/released or at least I come really near. All the Dial, Savoy, Verve, Benedetti recordings, Bird's Eyes, Live & Broadcasts, Blue Note concerts, recent discoveries, almost everything (more than 150 cds). This album cannot be considered a pure Bird album because he shared the scene with a lot of other sax stars which gave the session a different feeling from a lot of Bird's records. I mean that this album is more Jazz "the Kansas City way" than bebop. It is a session more traditional than bebop. The only true beboppers are Bird, Kessel and Peterson (and Brown of course). The others, Webster, Hodges, Carter etc are more traditional than strictly bebop so the overall sound is more on that side of course. But it's not a complaint, only an obvious consideration. The album is really fresh and entertaining, you can compar eit to a lot of JATP sessions in a sense. So it's not a "revolutionary" album, not one that set a standard or that marked a change in Jazz history, nevertheless it's essential in its way. It is a perect representation of what Jazz was more at Lester Young time than Bird time, but it's very very good. It deserves 5 stars absolutly. Every player shined here and found his time to strecht out and show his bags of tricks fully. One of the highlights is the comping by Oscar Peterson swing machine which gave to the session a fabolous imprinting. The program is damn good. Two very long blues tunes, a very beautiful standard ("What is this thing" one of the standards I love the most) and a ballad medley. Fantastic! And even if Bird is playing more or less his usual cliches and nothing more, he's still Bird! I love this album, for real. Buy it, you will love it for years and years too.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This album comes as a pleasant surprise on several levels. I thought my collection of Charlie Parker recordings was as complete as it needed to be--most of the Dial and Savoy masters and alternate takes, lots of air shots, the fabled solos on "Embraceable You" and "Night in Tunisia," and of course the historic Massey Hall concert, later billed as the "World's Greatest Jazz Concert." But as impressive as all those recordings are, they distance the listener in ways that may fuel the cult aura surrounding Bird and contribute to his legendary status but hardly atone for my inability to see and hear him performing live. The truncated solos of the 78 rpm recordings, the very "lo fi" audio, the predictable bebop repertory all served to provoke and tantalize as much as satisfy curiosity about his genius.
"Jam Session" is the only album I've heard that presents Charlie Parker in familiar company with room to stretch out and with microphones capable of capturing the moment with the versimilitude expected by today's listeners. Supported by Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown and sharing solo space with 4 progenitors of the saxophone, all of whom would ironically outlive him, Bird sounds both relaxed and in control, a musician who doesn't need to prove anything to anybody, but just playing for the fun of it. It's a rare, humanizing glimpse of a legend who proves no less mortal than his bandmates.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
If you play the saxophone, THIS IS A MUST HAVE ALBUM! If you like the saxophone this is a really, really should have album. Norman Granz produced many of his JATP (Jazz at the Philharmonic) titles featuring top names. This recording is akin to those. Johnny Hodge's solo on Funky Blues is featured above in the recording and it is so great! I can't believe that the listing on this CD doesn't talk about having Parker, Hodges, Carter, Ben Webster, Flip Phillips, Charlie Shavers and an All-Star rhythm section. BTW, there are really only FOUR (4) tracks on this CD. One of them is a medley of the ballads, each player being featured on a tune.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2002
This is a landmark session, if for no other reason than the number of jazz legends present. Everyone on the CD should be on a "Jazz Walk of Fame." Several of the people who also reviewed this CD talked of Charlie Shavers. While there are many reasons to buy this CD, Shavers is a highlight of the session. He was an incredibly talented musician who fell in between Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie on the jazz trumpet timeline.
Bird is awewome, but most who listen would not know that Bird had quite a hand in the way this session progressed. From photos unearthed in the early 1990s and published in France in 1995, it's clear that Bird was a co-leader of this session as well as on equal footing with the entire group. Seeing Bird direct Ben Webster, Flip Phillips, Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter (the five of them must have been the best sax lineup ever assembled) documents how much his peers respected his musicianship, if not his lifestyle. Everyone participated in the structure of this session however. I think I heard that Benny Carter was unhappy with the changes he played on Isn't It Romantic, and recorded it again soon afterwards to improve his rendition.
I'd heard this CD before, but after I saw the photo essay with all of the pictures from the session, I truly had a sense for the importance of this gathering. Seeing the photo document of this monumental session - the first and only time Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter and Bird got together - reinforces the universal language of music.
The essay, by Hank O'Neal and Norman Granz, plus the photos, taken by Esther Bubley, make the aforementioned book a fabulous companion to the CD. Sadly, the book is in limited distribution, and was only printed in French. With pictures like this, who cares?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2001
This is my favorite of Bird's all-star collaborations captured on Verve. Although the medley left me wanting more of each song,it is a stunning showcase for underrated trumpeter Charlie Shavers, and tenorist Flip Phillips. It also has more than enough thrills for devotees of Benny Carter, Ben Webster, Oscar Peterson, and especially Johnny Hodges. The highlight of the CD is the final selection, Funky Blues, a Hodges original. Bird offers one of his most penetrating,inventive, and unforgettable solos here. Although Funky Blues is a slow tune, the utter soul of Oscar's piano accompaniment always make my feet move. Hodges also soars,and concedes nothing in the soul department. It's a nice contrast to hear him in a context outside Duke Ellington's orchestra. This is a rousing, infectious CD, essential to any jazz collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2005
This cd is a really nice one to pick up. Not only do you have Bird doing some serious jamming but a whole line-up of the top jazz players of the period: Johnny Hodges, Oscar Peterson, and Ben Webster to name a few. The ballad medley is excellent as each player gets a song to show their stuff on, but the biggest reasons to buy this disc are the songs "Jam Blues" and "Funky Blues" which are really just extended jam sessions where all the players really get to stretch out. I would recommend buying this disc in the newly released box set titled "The Norman Granz Jam Sessions." Not only do you get this disc, but four others with all star line-ups that include Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Roy Eldridge, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, and Buddy Rich to name a few. So do yourself a favor and pick up the box set ASAP. You will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2013
By bringing together an all-star jam session consisting of alto saxophonists Charlie
Parker, bandleader Johnny Hodges and ensemble king Benny Carter, jazz' man from
Canada Oscar Peterson on the piano, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, noted bassist
Ray Brown and jazz guitarist Barney Kessel, producer-impresario Norman Granz have
again presented another winning jam session that is done with world class excellence
and sophisticated musicianship. Presented by Charlie Parker in 1952, Charlie Parker
Jam Sessions is a lavish album that showcases a special all-star extravaganza which
yet make this classic jam session another important high point from Bird's rich legacy.
Featuring several long, highly sketched reinditions of pop and jazz standards--starting
off with the class Parker original song J.A.T.P. Blues, the epic track set proceeds with
style on What Is This Thing Called Love?, Just Friends and there original finale Funky
Blues. This unique masterpiece never lets it's swinging guard down, which showcase
a up-to-date performing that make this timeless achievement another classic moment
that will be part of Granz' Jazz At The Philharmonic towering repertoire. Capped with
a "Saxophones Galore" momentum and brilliantly well-captured in one complete hour,
the complete edition of Charlie Parker Jam Sessions is another great live masterpiece
that will always be a true part of Parker's rich groundbreaking legacy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2009
Charlie Parker is so well-known now for his spikey small-group 'bebop' recordings with Dizzy Gillespie et al, that it has become a sort of conventional wisdom to view him as this revolutionary who somehow buried the swing era. It's an interpretation that tends to cause the great swing era musicians to be viewed as somehow simplistic and unsophisticated by comparison. So, it's great to have a recording like this to remind everyone that Parker was evolutionary, not revolutionary, and that swing era greats like Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges were no dinosaurs. While Prestige Records would become best-known for the recorded 'jam session' in the early days of the long-playing record, Verve contributed one of the best of the form with this album. Parker's death caused him to be elevated to top billing, but it's a very democratic affair, with some of the music's greats turning in one juicy solo after another against a hard-charging rhythm section led by Oscar Peterson. It's a blast, and, while I make special mention of the daring rock-n-roll flavour that guitarist Barney Kessel introduces in his solos, everyone here is in top form - except perhaps for Ben Webster, whose playing is more gravelly, less robust than usual. A small quibble for a record that is pure fun from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2007
It is great session.

For me it is the best jam session ever recorded at studio. And mainly there play together three best alto players ever - Johnny Hoges, Benny Carter and Charlie Parker and play great. But there is perfect playing by other musicians like Oscar Peterson, Ben Webster or Flip Phillips. This cd includes two blues and two ballads. Highpoint is Funky Blues wroten by Hodges. All musicians play two blues choruses except base, drums and Oscar Peterson plays 3 choruses.

All plays great but Parker's alto solo is superb with accuracy and deep-felt. It's must for every Hodges or Parker fans, but for all who loves great jam sessions with great jazz names too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2013
This song is essential for anyone who wants to get into Bebop/Jazz. From the classy piano solo opening, to the end of the 40 minutes, this track is non-stop jamming and should be looked into for those newcomers or the like. My only concern for the newcomers is that these tracks are not authentic Charlie Parker, if he is what you are seeking. The tracks are not composed by Charlie Parker, but rather 3 great jazz tracks with Charlie Parker playing, along with a melody of miscellaneous jazz standards from Gershwin and other popular hits. The album keeps its valuable name of "Jam Session," but does not show the true potential of Charlie Parker's style and symphony.
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