Never Before Released Charlie Parker Sessions on 'Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes' Out 7/1
Discovering previously unheard music is a consistent hope for serious jazz fans. Finding unreleased music from legends, especially those who departed far too early with their legacies incomplete, is a true joy; one of those legends whose every note leads to an adventure of innovation is the immortal Charlie "Bird" Parker. On July 1, Verve/UMe brings a thrill to jazz lovers worldwide with the release of Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes, a comprehensive two-disc set featuring a cornucopia of previously unknown music 58 never listed studio takes from Charlie Parker. The set was co-produced by Phil Schaap, the eminent jazz historian who is currently Curator at Jazz At Lincoln Center and the foremost expert on Ornithology.
"These previously unknown takes are a blockbuster," Schaap says, "providing heretofore-unheard Bird improvisations, and in high fidelity." Discovered in a cache of materials owned by a former associate of Norman Granz, the founder of Verve Records and visionary producer of these sessions, the newly discovered takes allow the listener inside the private domain between Parker and Granz as they developed some of the most important music in jazz. In his highly detailed liner notes, Schaap provides overview, session-by-session history and track-by-track analysis, further illuminating the creative process of Bird's genius.
Originally issued on Mercury and Clef, but ultimately housed on Verve, the Parker/Granz studio collaborations were well-designed and thoughtfully conceived to display Bird's unparalleled talents in a variety of contexts. These included Parker's four to six piece ensembles (both working and pick-up groups); Latin Jazz efforts, some of which were labeled "South of the Border;" the orchestral Charlie Parker including his masterpieces with strings; standard Big Band; and Parker's prescient view of the Third Stream. Unheard Birdtouches on all of these, including a couple of brief false starts on "If I Should Lose You"that were not included in the remarkable 2015 companion set, Charlie Parker With Strings: Deluxe Edition.
From the Latin side, there are five tracks with Parker as the featured soloist with Machito and his Orchestra; and 13 "South of the Border" tracks that feature a rhythm section of Walter Bishop, Teddy Kotick and Roy Haynes or Max Roach, along with Jose Mangual and Luis Miranda on bongos and congas, respectively, and joined on a pair by trumpeter Benny Harris. As a bonus we hear snippets of studio chatter, including Bird discussing tempo; on "Tico Tico" he asks studio guests to quiet down lest they ruin the session.