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Charlie Parker: Complete Live Performances on Savoy

Classical American Music Classics set a standard of excellence, which teaches, and by which subsequent expressions of the genre can be evaluated and analyzed.

Parker, Gordon, Dorham, Garner evoke the spirit of an era, the living continuum of new musical revelation. Bird transformed formal Western instrumental style with black vocal tradition, falsetto, blues, a soulfulness armed with aggressive technology, hence sleek, swift, streamlined.

Dizzy’s “bebop” media-named the genre, but “bop” was revolutionary, rejuvenating jazz, scandalizing Tin-Pan Alley. Broadway popular ballads finessed blues into the mainstream. Bird re-organized the same materials , using the chordal base of popular song as one resource for improvisation and composition- innovative and practical (since only melody is copyrighted).

“Bop,” Bird, initially assaulted viciously by the critical establishment, were later, to save face, re-reviewed . Countering the blurring and softening of the music to fit the pockets of commerce, bop restored the critical relationship of rhythm to melody and harmony, the centrality of improvisation, blues intonation.

Dorham and Gordon, who never reached media stardom, were frontline creators. Blakey called Dorham “The Uncrowned King”, a consummate melodist, lyric soloist, a ubiquitous presence on the most creative scenes of his time, like these “sidemen,” contributing innovators, producing the musical discourse of the era.

Dexter Gordon brought a composite of Hawkins’ weighty reediness and Pres’ lyrical fluid line-the confluence Trane picked up.

Errol Garner, like Nat “King” Cole before commerce “stood him up,” made early bop sessions, a stride-like blues player, whose straightahead rhythm piano caught the popular ear with infectious, funky re-creations of familiar tunes.

NYC’s ’40s recording band, Ozzie Cadena, Teddy Reig made Newark’s Savoy Catalog gold, Reig with Orrin Keepnews, add to that wealth.

Originally Published