RSS Feed Editorial Emissions

Jazz Street: Charlie Parker

posted August 13, 2015, 7:15 pm by Nathaniel Lathy | Filed Under Jazz Street, Throwback Thursday | comment Leave a Comment

charlie parkerOne of the names bound to come up in discussion about the greatest jazz musicians is Charlie Parker. Robert Christgau mentioned him as one of the names thrown out along with Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk (Christgau’s favorite and mine). Many would throw Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis (at least before he started making fusion records) in there. His influence ranged from the likes of Steely Dan (Check out the song, “Charlie Parker’s Band.”) and Ornette Coleman. Listening to Parker’s music, it does have more of a swing sound than some of the other Bebop artists. I’m intrigued by his use of shorter tracks. Coltrane is brilliant, and he pulls off tracks, which take up a whole side of a record. Others can find it more difficult to sustain interest over such lengths. I find this to be the case even more so for current performers. Parker’s sound can be so good, it wouldn’t bother me if it went on a little longer, such as the brilliant “Yardbird Suite” at 2:53. The only thing I find myself wishing for is hearing more of his sax playing. Though this is minor concern because of his strengths as a bandleader. Those assets include picking out great talent to play around him.

Parker does a great job on standards. He wrote his share of compositions. His untimely death came at the age of 34 in 1955. Fortunately, the music lives on. I would do well to listen to more of his recordings. Maybe the strings recordings would be worth exploring. It seems like I’ve listened to a number of his more famous recordings. In various passions, people can have trouble picking a favorite. This can allow the jazz listener to just listen to these recordings and not worry about comparisons. I empathize with such a view. I’m in the business of giving opinions, and it’s part of my DNA. Those who do pick Parker as the best could do a lot worse, and they would be hard pressed to do better.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Music Emissions music community
Music Emissions
Rate, Recommend, Review

© 1999 - 2013 Music Emissions
Acceptable Use | Privacy Policy | Built by Scanland Development
Facebook | Twitter