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Marcus Printup: Bird of Paradise: The Music of Charlie Parker

A generation ago, tribute albums to Charlie Parker often featured extended passages of Bird’s solos transcribed for one or more horns, or bands mirroring the traditional Parker bebop small groups of alto sax, trumpet, piano, bass and drums. And musicians on them paid close homage to Parker by playing in a decidedly neo-bop style. You won’t find much, if any, of that here.

Trumpeter Marcus Printup presents a repertoire of tunes written and/or performed by Parker, many of them familiar Bird lines. But Printup’s band (Kengo Nakamura, bass; Shinnosuke Takahashi, drums) eliminates piano; the only additional chording instrument is Riza Hequibal’s harp on five of the 11 tracks, but it comps on only three. Saxophonist Ted Nash is on nine tracks, but he’s mainly on tenor, playing alto on only two. And instead of the razzle-dazzle breathless excitement of charging through the changes of classic bop, Printup and Nash solo with more tonal and timbral variety, sacrificing sheer velocity for expressive sounds and fewer notes. It’s a creatively fertile way to revisit Bird’s music.

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