Compared to his other albums, Bird's improvisations here are more distilled and economical; at the same time, he's never been more clear-headed than this (it's no wonder Parker himself named this record as his personal favorite)! The lush string arrangements and rhythm section's delicate swing intertwine on Just Friends; Everything Happens to Me; April in Paris; Summertime; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; If I Should Lose You; Dancing in the Dark; Out of Nowhere; Laura; They Can't Take That Away from Me; Easy to Love; I'm in the Mood for Love; I'll Remember April; Easy to Love; Autumn in New York , and more. 24 tracks in all!
Charlie Parker welcomed the opportunity to record standards with a small string ensemble in 1949, and the results are stunning, his liquid alto soaring over the tuneful and only occasionally stiff arrangements. Along the way, he invests tunes like "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" and "Laura" with a unique blend of bluesy realism and mercurial improvisation. The CD adds live versions from a Carnegie Hall concert, and there are also two brilliant versions of Neal Hefti's "Repetition." The 1947 version has Bird flying spontaneously over the dense orchestration of horns, strings, and Latin percussion. --Stuart Broomer