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Verve Releases Box of Bird

With Savoy emptying its vaults of Charlie Parker recordings, it was only a matter of time before Verve got in on the action. The long-awaited, four-hour long, three-disc box set chronicling watershed saxophonist Parker’s tenure with Verve Records, Charlie Parker: The Complete Verve Master Takes hits shelves next Tuesday, October 21.

The recorded performances included on the box set represent Parker’s studio output from 1947 until late 1954, only a few months before his March 1955 death. Much of the music was produced by Verve records founder Norman Granz and these three discs contain the master takes from every studio session Parker did for Granz, most notably those that yielded Charlie Parker With Strings.

Just so you can get more bang for your buck (the retail price is about 50 smackaroos) the box-set includes a 60-page booklet replete with rare photographs, details for each song and some lovely drawings of birds. And the set’s box, reminiscent of a silver cigar case, is a looker.

In addition to Bird’s timeless alto saxophone lines, the set features legendary sidemen: Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Turk, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Percy Heath, Teddy Kotick, Charles Mingus, Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Arthur Taylor and Gil Evans, who lends his signature arranging and conducting prowess.

For those of you Parker fans less inclined to bow before the altar of tradition, Savoy will be releasing Bird Up: The Charlie Parker Remix Project. (October 21 is like the new Christmas for Birdwatchers.) As previously reported here at the mighty, Bird Up features remixes from a diverse group of artists ranging from bassist Me’shell NdegeOcello, (who reworks “Relaxin at Camarillo”), to producers Dan the Automator (“Steeplechase” and “Perhaps”), and RZA (“Bebop”). They’re near-blasphemous reconstructions of classic Bird tunes. It’s so wrong, yet so delicious.

Oh, you wanna know what songs are on these releases, don’t you? Here’s the mammoth tracklisting for the Verve box set.

Disc One:

1. The Bird

2. Cardboard

3. Visa

4. Segment

5. Passport (blues)

6. Passport (based on “I Got Rhythm “)

7. Just Friends

8. Everything Happens To Me

9. April in Paris

10. Summertime

11. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

12. If I Should Lose You

13. Star Eyes

14. Blues (Fast)

15. I ‘m in the Mood for Love

16. Bloomdido

17. An Oscar for Treadwell

18. Mohawk

19. My Melancholy Baby

20. Leap Frog

21. Relaxin ‘With Lee

22. Dancing in the Dark

23. Out of Nowhere

24. Laura

Disc Two:

1. East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)

2. They Can ‘t Take That Away From Me

3. Easy to Love

4. I’m in the Mood for Love

5. I’ll Remember April

6. Au Privave

7. She Rote

8. K.C. Blues

9. Star Eyes

10. My Little Suede Shoes

11. Un Poquito de tu Amor

12. Tico-Tico (aka “Tico-Tico No Fuba “)

13. Fiesta

14. Why Do I Love You?

15. Blues for Alice

16. Si Si

17. Swedish Schnapps

18. Back Home Blues

19. Loverman

20. Temptation

21. Lover

22. Autumn in New York

23. Stella by Starlight

24. Mama Inez

25. La Cucuracha

Disc Three:

1. Estrellita

2. Begin the Beguine

3. La Paloma

4. Night and Day

5. Almost Like Being in Love

6. I Can ‘t Get Started

7. What Is This Thing Called Love?

8. The Song Is You

9. Laird Baird

10. Kim

11. Cosmic Rays

12. In the till of the Night

13. Old Folks

14. If I Love Again

15. Chi-Chi

16. I Remember You

17. Now ‘s the Time

18. Confirmation

19. I Get a Kick Out of You

20. Just One of Those Things

21. My Heart Belongs to Daddy

22. I ‘ve Got You Under My Skin

23. Love for Sale

24. I Love Paris

And here’s the track list for Bird Up:

1. Red Hawk, “Now’s the Time (No Time Like Now)”

2. Me’shell Ndegeocello, “Relaxin’ at Camarillo (August 29)”

3. Hal Willner, “Salt Peanuts (The Mr. Peanut Chronicles)”

4. Serj Tankian, “Bird of Paradise (Gone)”

5. Donk, “Congo Blues (Silencer)”

6. RZA, “Bepop (Live at the Rooftop)”

7. Dan the Automator, “Steeplechase (Sittin’ on 22’s)”

8. Rob Swift, “Cheers (X-ecutioners Style)”

9. Donk, “A Night in Tunisia (Downpour)”

10. Hal Willner, “All the Shadows of Nuff”

11. Dan the Automator, “Perhaps (Someday the Roof Will Get Fixed)”

12. Matthew Backer, “Barbados (Where Fish Fly)”

13. El-P, “Constellation”

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Originally Published