Charlie Parker: New Bird

It is not that expensive for an individual to produce his or her own CD. The cost becomes less when you don’t have to use a studio for recording a group, but rather just transfer already recorded material from 78 rpm, LP or tape in a professional manner. Some people even have equipment in their homes capable of burning CDs, even if they cannot reproduce a studio quality sound, particularly if they are using second generation (or worse) material.

All of this came to mind when I saw and heard New Bird. In the brief notes in the accompanying booklet, one Richard Clay proclaims: “Swan records takes great pride in presenting for the first time ever, rare recordings of The Master, Charlie Parker…” First of all, everything has been available before on various British and Italian labels after earlier appearances on American bootleg LPs. Of the 12 tracks, four are drawn from an interview with Parker on May 1, 1950 by Marshall Stearns and James T. (or Jim) Maher, not John, as has been erroneously reported in the past.

The two tracks with Fats Navarro and Bud Powell from 1950 were issued on LP via LeJazz Cool label in 1961 and then by Columbia in 1977. On CD they are only on French Columbia, not generally imported into the U.S. Three tracks-“Chasing the Bird,” “Out of Nowhere” and “How High the Moon,” with Miles Davis, Al Haig, etc. (Royal Roost, 12/18/48), are part of the recent Charlie Parker: The Complete Live Performances on Savoy. Basically this is an on-the-cheap production, never irrelevant because it is Charlie Parker, but only for those who must have absolutely everything by Bird and don’t own these in other forms. Actually, most of them probably already do.