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  • Complete Live Performances on Savoy: Sept. 29, 1947-Oct. 25, 1950
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Complete Live Performances on Savoy: Sept. 29, 1947-Oct. 25, 1950 Live

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Given that most jazz historians consider Bird's early Savoy recordings to be his best, this 4-CD set occupies some rarefied air in the world of jazz reissues. The first three CDs consist of his Royal Roost broadcasts from September 1948 through March 1949; this material has been reissued before, but never with such good sound and judicious editing (emcee Symphony Sid is not as ubiquitous or as annoying). And disc four includes a rare 1947 concert in New York with Diz and John Lewis among others, plus a Chicago date with two members of the Windy City's first family of jazz, the Freemans. Together, it's the complete performance recordings of Charlie Parker's early years, assembled for the first time and absolutely essential. Salt Peanuts; Ornithology; Groovin' High the birth of bebop!

Amazon.com

For years, the audio quality of many of the performances gathered on these four CDs prevented a full-on embrace, what with all the other available Charlie Parker out there. But this collection restores these sessions to notoriety. They're mostly from New York's Royal Roost, 1948 to 1950, but with a 1947 Carnegie Hall supergroup concert and a 1950 Chicago pickup date that boasts some unknowns--and undersung guitarist George Freeman--with Parker. First, the single drawback: emcee and radio host "Symphony Sid" Torin's sometimes obsequious, faux-hipster shtick that bookends several of the tunes. Rest assured, though, Torin makes only brief intros and outros. Beyond that, these are all stellar works. The quintet on three of the CDs (the Royal Roost sessions) features Parker with Miles Davis on much of CD 1, highlighting the clipped fire of bebop's architecture being tunneled under by Davis's mellow-tone brass. Even when Kenny Dorham takes over on trumpet, the alchemy is built on contrast, Parker's raspy, fast wit and Dorham's wry (but often likemindedly fast) ripostes. Pianists Tadd Dameron and Al Haig make great showings, as does Max Roach, pushing the energy with a loose attack that defies the fact that the majority of these performances were for radio. The more-famed quintet fronted by Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and pianist John Lewis (famed cofounder of the Modern Jazz Quartet) closes the collection with five tunes from a 1947 Carnegie Hall concert. Parker seems more restrained, Gillespie gleeful, and Lewis characteristically spare. But the playing is first-rate, whether at light-speed (as on "Dizzy Atmosphere") or at the loping clip of "Groovin' High." --Andrew Bartlett

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 26, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Savoy
  • ASIN: B00000DC2I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,594 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 1999
Format: Audio CD
These performances have been issued many times before in various fashions, but Savoy does fans a service by bringing all the Royal Roost broadcasts (along with a fine Carnegie Hall concert with Dizzy and an interesting recording in Chicago with a pick-up band) together into one definitive package. In general Bird is heard at his peak throughout, with a particular highlight coming when Bird takes a request (on Christmas) for "White Christmas" and gives it an absolutely brilliant reworking. The music benifits from the new, cleaner sound and there is a good track by track analysis from Loren Schoenberg. This package represents some of the most consistently inspired and rewarding recordings in Bird's career and should not be missed by those unfamiliar them.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By JFreijser on March 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anyone who wants to hear Charlie Parker, please start here, with these Savoy recordings. There is a unique coherence and consistency of place and time - bringing the performer-audience electricity of 50 years ago straight into your living room. You experience CP's invention of that music all over again. This is Bird, pure, straight, no chaser, not shaken, not stirred.
Over the last 30 years I have spent many hours listening to Charlie Parker, and his tunes are etched in my mind like musical sculptures, but these recordings have a lot to add to what I had already learnt. This is the best Bird I have heard.
I also have the highest regard for the beautifully informative and intelligent comments by Orrin Keepnews, Paul Bacon, and Loren Schoenberg.
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59 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Looks good, doesn't it? All the Roosts on four CDs. Looks mighty good. Then there's even more - recordings from Carnegie Hall in 1947 and Chicago in 1950. Still on four CDs. And you know the Roosts alone came out on four a few years back. Anyway...it looks good. And Orrin Keepnews, that dear leech, says "less is more," congratulating himself (again) on giving Symphony Sid the axe. What he doesn't mention, of course, is that an entire date from 1950 with Fats Navarro and Bud Powell has been similarly excised. It should not even surprise, after all these years of being shafted by record companies, much less shock, and no-one will bat an eyelid when this stuff comes out again, even more complete(!), in a couple of years. But it's dishonest, it's self-serving, and particularly when Keepnews so tenaciously holds to painting himself into the picture of those who cared about jazz, it's disgraceful. Bird can have all the stars in the sky. Orrin gets none.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Slaninka Frantisek on August 31, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is the worst production by great producer Orrin Keepnews. Music on this 4-cd is great(5 stars). Parker in his peak period and many great musicians (Davis, Dorham, Roach, Milt Jackson) play great too. There are great performances like Ornithology, Confirmation, Salt penauts (with Parker's vocal), Chasin' the bird and many others.

But: Title of this box names COMPLETE live performances on Savoy and this is problem. Royal Roost performances on this box are everything but no complete. There are missing most announcement by Symphony Sid Torin, his talking with Parker, and mainly Parker and his band playing with Symphony Sid voiceover on many stuffs.

There are missing: 52nd street theme, Jumping with Symphony Sid, Jingle bells in many versions. This titles draw club's atmosphere in this era and performances are incomplete without them.

I get off this fake and will buy true Columbia/Nippon Royal Roost complet with similar sound quality I guess.

4th disc contains Carnegie Hall concert but better way is to buy Diz'n Bird at Carnegie Hall. It includes Gillespie with his orchestra performances also.

If you are true fan of Parker dont' buy this 4cd box. It's patch-work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By martin emiliano arias on May 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I strongly support the 3-star review. This set is not the good source to listen to these broadcasts. Orrin Keepnews has deleted many announcement bits, but what is worst, many announcement bits where Bird played behind Symphony Sid.

All of this to include the 1947 Carnegie Hall concert, which is in plenty of other issues, and four 1950 tracks which don't represent the complete session, just arbitrarily the small segment acquired by Savoy in the 1970s. The complete 1950 session is also to be found somewhere else.

The Japanese version of the Royal Roost material is fine but hard to get. A new one in a 4CD box devoted exclusively to the complete Royal Roost performances and including various truly appropriate bonus sessions surpasses it and has just recently appeared in Europe.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DE on August 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Next to the studio Dial and Savoy, this set completes the Parker Bebop jazz trinity. These live sessions, are pristine in compare with the Mosaic live set (that is important but only for those who have it all). If you play some instrument, you could learn from these live recordings and even develop your own individual style. I have been there. First, I just listened. Than, I started playing some of his tunes-compositions. I am still in the process of learning. You probably need a lifetime to study Parker's music in depth. On the other hand, you could just sit back and enjoy some fast, bluesy, sophisticated and lively playing: The watermark of a real musical genius.
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Complete Live Performances on Savoy: Sept. 29, 1947-Oct. 25, 1950
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