STILL SOUNDING MODERN…Charlie Parker Quintet & Sextet: Live at the Hi-Hat 1953-1954

Just a year or two before he died, jazz legend Charlie Parker sounds inspired in this collection of radio broadcasts from Boston’s Hi-Hat jazz club. As was the mode of the day, Parker came into town as a “single” and teamed up with like-minded locals. Luckily the up and coming local trumpeter Herb Pomeroy (who later made his name with Lionel Hampton and Stan Kenton) was in town along with Dean Earle-Rollins Griffith/p, Bernie Griggs-Jimmy Woode/b and Bill Graham-George Solano-Marquis Foster/dr for some enthused reads of bebop standards.

Parker’s tone is exquisite throughout, and sounds confident and dynamic on bouncy reads of “Cool Blues,” “Scrapple From The Apple” and “Ornithology.” There are repetitions of most of the songs, but the solos are varied enough to keep your interest, with “My  Little Suede Shoes” skipping along with delight with the rhythm section, and a sole version of “My Funny Valentine” taken with a Latin lilt. Parker sighs with delight on the slower pieces “Laura” while handling the intricate  “Cheryl” with aplomb.

It’s also a pleasure to report that the sound quality of the music on these two discs is excellent. You can hear the bass on most of the pieces and the drums are crisp. There are some fun announcements by broadcaster Symphony Sid and even Parker himself gets a moment or two at the mic. The impressive liner notes give historical background, but the music speaks for itself. Modern jazz sounds more “modern” here than 60 years later.
Fresh Sound Records

Leave a Reply