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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Bird and Diz

Essential Jazz Classics
EJC 55566



1. Bloomdido
2. My Melancholy Baby
3. Relaxin' with Lee
4. Leap Frog
5. An Oscar for Treadwell
6. Mohawk
7. My Melancholy Baby (Alternate Take)
8. Relaxin' With Lee (Alternate Take)
9. Relaxin' With Lee (Alternate Take Incomplete)
10. Leap Frog (Alternate Take)
11. Leap Frog (Alternate Take)
12. Leap Frog (Alternate Take)
13. Leap Frog (Alternate Take Incomplete)
14. An Oscar for Treadwell (Alternate Take)
15. Mohawk (Alternate Take)
16. Au Privave (Alternate Take)
17. Au Privave
18. She Rote (Alternate Take)
19. She Rote
20. K. C. Blues
21. Star Eyes (Quintet Version)
22. Star Eyes (Quartet Version)
23. Blues
24. I'm In The Mood For Love
25. Celebrity
26. Ballade

Tracks 1-15:
Charlie Parker - Alto sax
Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet
Thelonious Monk - Piano
Curley Russell - Bass
Buddy Rich - Drums
Tracks 16-21:
Charlie Parker - Alto sax
Miles Davis - Trumpet
Walter Bishop Jr. - Piano
Teddy Kotick - Bass
Max Roach - Drums
Tracks 22-26:
Charlie Parker - Alto sax
Hank Jones - Piano
Ray Brown - Bass
Buddy Rich - Drums
Coleman Hawkins - Tenor sax (track 26)


When the 1950 recording Bird and Diz was originally released, some critics baulked at the idea of Buddy Rich playing the drums for beboppers Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. This prejudice was based on the fact that Buddy was best known as a swing drummer, not a bebopper like Max Roach. Yet, if they had listened, the critics might have recognised that Buddy Rich fitted in perfectly well. Maybe he didn't use the fragmented style of the bebop drummers but he provided the engine power necessary to propel the front line (assisted by the steady bass of Curley Russell). And he inserts some appropriate breaks, as in the introduction to the first cut of Leap Frog and his boppish eight-bar break in the first take of An Oscar For Treadwell. And compare his smooth breaks with Max Roach's faltering solo on the second take of Au Privave.

This reissue includes all the complete alternate takes which were not included on the original LP, plus the only two breakdown attempts with complete Parker solos. The last eleven tracks are bonuses featuring Parker with quartets or quintets in 1950 and 1951.

This was the only studio recording that Charlie Parker made with Thelonious Monk. Unfortunately, Monk is not very audible on most tracks, except when he solos. Parker and Gillespie are as adept and serpentine as they have ever been. For much of the time, it sounds as if they are competing with one another in a fierce but friendly cutting contest. They introduce some unexpected humour at the end of My Melancholy Baby. And it is educative to hear how they tackle the different takes of each tune.

Apart from the under-recorded piano, the sound quality of this album is better than on many Parker releases, although some of the final tracks are rather foggy. Some listeners may be frustrated by the repetition of tunes several times over, but it can afford a useful exercise in comparing how the musicians vary their approach to certain numbers.

Tony Augarde

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