Bird 100 Celebrations Continue With Charlie Parker’s Savoy Box Set
Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach and others feature in the set, from which ‘Ko-Ko’ can now be streamed or downloaded.
Craft Recordings has announced the 28 February release of The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection, featuring Charlie Parker’s groundbreaking bebop sessions for the famed jazz label Savoy Records between 1944 and 1948.
The deluxe, four-LP box set will also be available digitally, and contains newly restored and remastered audio, faithfully reproduced artwork from the original 10-inch albums and a booklet with vintage photos, rare ephemera and new liner notes written by the Grammy-winning journalist and author Neil Tesser.
The box set forms part of the year-long celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Parker’s birth, also featuring special events, performances and music and art releases under the Bird 100 banner.
The saxophonist’s fellow jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, Bud Powell and Max Roach all feature in the set, from which the instant grat single ‘Ko-Ko’ can now be streamed or downloaded at all major outlets. The track, with Parker’s impressive improvisation, is recognised as one of Bird’s early masterpieces, and was his first recording as a band leader. It was added to the National Recording Registry in 2003, recognising its status as a recording that is “culturally, historically or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States.”
As Tesser writes in the liner notes, the bebop style that Parker helped to pioneer was seen as distinctly avant-garde at a time when Great American Songbook standards, performed by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and others, were de rigueur.
“Bebop undergirds such a vast swath of American music that its revolutionary nature recedes into the background,” he notes. “It is now so familiar and comfortable, such an ever-present part of the family history, that non-historians can hardly envision it ever being ‘revolutionary.’”
The 28 tracks on The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection are some of the earliest bebop recordings ever heard. They include takes from a November 1945 date toften referred to as “The Greatest Jazz Session Ever,” with Davis, Roach and Curley Russell appearing as “Charlie Parker’s Reboppers.”
These tracks were compiled by Savoy and released over the ensuing years as the four LPs reissued in this set: New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 1 (1950), New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 2 (1951) and 1952’s Volumes 3 and 4. Almost all of the compositions in the collection are Parker originals, with a few by Davis and an original tune by guitarist Lloyd “Tiny” Grimes, who led Parker in the session for ‘Tiny’s Tempo.’
Other highlights include the upbeat ‘Now’s the Time,’ the bluesy ‘Parker’s Mood’ and ‘Constellation,’ which, as Tesser says, “seems to anticipate the free-jazz energy solos of the 1960s.” ‘Billie’s Bounce,’ one of Bird’s most recognisable tunes, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. The sound, writes Tesser, was “at once liberating but also threatening. Charlie Parker and his fellow instigators…sparked a cultural earthquake that upended the music landscape for decades.”
The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection is released on 28 February. Scroll down for the full tracklisting, and pre-order it here.
New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 1
1. Now’s The Time
2. Donna Lee
3. Chasin’ The Bird
4. Red Cross
2. Warmin’ Up A Riff
3. Half Nelson
4. Sipping At Bells
New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 2
1. Billie’s Bounce
4. Another Hair-Do
1. Thriving From A Riff
3. Little Willie Leaps
New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 3
2. Bird Gets The Worm
3. Parker’s Mood
3. Tiny’s Tempo
New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 4
2. Merry Go Round