CHARLIE PARKER
            The Washington Concerts

                        Howard Theater
                        Washington DC
                             March 8, 1953

                             Charlie Parker  AS
                             Jack Holliday    P
                             Mert Oliver      B
                             Max Roach       D

                     LINK RETIRED

Review by arwulf arwulf
In 2001 Blue Note released an expanded edition of One Night in Washington, an Elektra LP dating from the 1980s that documented some of Charlie Parker's adventures in the nation's capitol near the end of his short life. Reusing the same beautiful cover art (a portrait of Parker in action, painted by Charles Reid) the Blue Note CD edition adds material recorded in the same city during the same time period and retains a four-minute excerpt from a Red Rodney interview, which was conducted about 30 years afterwards. Seasoned Charlie Parker devotees may be aware that some of the music heard on this edition was issued at one point on an LP titled Yardbird: D.C. 53, and will appreciate having so much rare Bird on one disc. Excerpts from three live gigs are preserved on this Blue Note compilation. The earliest took place at the Howard Theater on October 18, 1952; the band was billed as "the Charlie Parker Tentet" and one of the participants was tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims. On February 22, 1953 Bird performed at the Club Kavakos in front of a big band led by drummer Joe Timer. For generations the recordings made that night have been savored as glowing examples of how inventive and adaptable Charlie Parker really was. As Rodney explains, there wasn't time for Yardbird to rehearse with the big band. Completely unfamiliar with the arrangements, Bird relied entirely on instinctual "bop logic" to navigate with ease as he formulated solos of remarkable prismatic complexity. The rest of the material on this anthology of relatively rare Bird was recorded two weeks later at the Howard Theater on March 8, 1953. Blue Note has done an excellent job of cleaning up these privately produced recordings. They convey some measure of the raw excitement of a live Charlie Parker performance. Present at this concert jam session were trumpeter Red Rodney, trombonist Kai Winding and drummer Max Roach. The audience loved Charlie Parker and so will you.

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