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The Essential

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 3, 1992
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$12.05 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 3, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000001E03
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,835 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Charlie Parker Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
OK, the music, of course, rates 10 stars, for there is some great music here. But Polygram has labeled this "the" essential Charlie Parker, when it really isn't. This is music from the various record companies that Charlie Parker recorded for in the late 40's and early 50's under the producer Norman Granz, generally known as the Verve group of companies, eventually bought up by Polygram. Since it only contains Verve product it isn't really a representative sample of Charlie Parker's recordings.

A much better value for your money (if you want only one purchase of Charlie Parker material) is the box set by Proper Records called "Boss Bird." It's ASIN number B000069DWX (just paste this ASIN number in the search bar to find it). This is a 4 CD set, and you can usually find great used copies here at Amazon for around 15 dollars.

It contains four full CD's of music from throughout Bird's career: early recordings, the essential recordings for Savoy and Dial with Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis that made him famous, and a nice sample of the later Verve years. It's a terrific set, and well worth owning.

If you really want to keep your purchase down to less than 4 CD's, try the one-disc compilation that was part of the "Ken Burns Jazz" series. It's just a single CD, contains the great recordings from throughout Bird's career. Even cheaper is the Charlie Parker CD from the Ken Burns Jazz Collection, which his ASIN number B000050I3S; you can usually buy copies under 5 bucks here at Amazon.

As for this particular CD that I am reviewing here: there is some fine stuff, but they are being too tricky with the title, since it's just a slice of Parker's career. If you do want a "best of" album of the Verve years there is a two-CD sampler floating around Amazon that is a better deal.
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Format: Audio CD
Many Jazz saxophone players say they got Bird "figured out". Even 47 years after his death they still try to play like him.
Listening to Bird on this CD you just know that no one can figure Bird out, nobody played like him and nobody will.
The music here is from the late 40's early 50's. Miles Davis is no longer the sideman. The rhythm section is sometimes not quick enough to pick up on Bird's rhythmic changes - for Bird had a sense of rhythm I only heard in Armstrong's early solos.
The genious that overflowed from Bird is evident in his sound, rhythm, melodic invention and harmonic explorations. Listening to Bird has been one of life's pleasures for me, and this CD is no exception.
This is music that should be listened to by all music lovers, regardless of their favorite genre.
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By mrblack on August 19, 2005
Format: Audio CD
As the title says, this is a great selection of the finest Charlie parker themes. A perfect introduction to anyone who wants to dig in Bird's music. Include classics like: Confirmation, KC Blues and Now's the time. The CD cover art is brilliant too, don't you think?
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not saying 'The Essential Charlie Parker' is bad at all. It's actually superb, if I'm being honest. But, I can't give this five stars. Why, you may ask?

Well, there are just so many better options. Now I realize that to many, this is the ideal Parker collection and this is the one that people buy. But there are box sets, regular compilations, you name it.

My advice is buy the single disc 'Ken Burns JAZZ: Charlie Parker.' That spans 1941-1952, his entire career basically, and includes all of his classics.

And, most of the songs here are on that one as well. And that one adds some of his duets with Dizzy Gillespie (like 'Salt Peanuts) and his early years with Jay McShann.

But this still has the basics. 'Bloomdido,' featuring the legendary drummer Buddy Rich and Gillespie both, is here, as is 'Relaxing With Lee' and arguably his biggest hit, 'Now's The Time.'

However, the one song that should be here but not is 'Scrapple from the Apple.' How could you have the essentials and not put that classic on? It's like having a peanut butter sandwich without jelly. It's not right.

But, overall, if you want a good intro to Charlie Parker's music, than definitely this is worth checking out. But, if you want more bang for your buck, I suggest 'Ken Burns JAZZ Collection.'

Recommended for the newcomer or casual Bird fan.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm surprised that not many people have reviewed this cd, it is wonderful. It has an excellent variety of songs so you hear Bird playing w/strings, big band, quintet and solo. I just love Mango Mangue the song performed with the Cuban bongo and congo players. Plus it has the classics (Now's the Time, Confirmation, etc). A great collection of songs and the SOUND QUALITY is great.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been very impressed with most remastered CD's taken from performances going back to the 50's. Some of this mastering work is nearly miraculous ("Getz and Hamp" being one shining example). Unfortunately this CD is largely unrestored. It has minimal noise but it also has minimal dynamic range and is quite flat. I admittedly spoiled but I can't get through to the music if I can't hear it propertly. That's a shame because there is some good music here.
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Format: Audio CD
Charlie Parker symbolized as no other jazz musician, the existential crisis of a generation. He represented with all the horridness, the embodiment of the sorrow, although he was in the creative decade of the life as the thirties are for any artist.

His emblematic talent and his remarkable gifts made of him a legend, and this album includes certainly part of this golden bequeath.
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