This 10 CD retrospective contains everything Bird recorded on the Verve label, including live tracks with Ella Fitzgerald. With nearly 2 hours of never-before-released music, there are 175 tracks in all, a 24 page booklet with photos and liner notes by Dizzy Gillespie.
Personnel includes: Charlie Parker (alto saxophone); Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, Ben Webster, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Gil Evans, Thelonious Monk, Buddy Rich, Lester Young, Max Roach, Kenny Dorham, Ray Brown, Red Rodney, John Lewis, Roy Haynes.
Producer: Norman Granz.
Compilation producer: Phil Schaap.
Includes liner notes by Dizzy Gillespie and Phil Schaap.
Digitally remastered by Phil Schaap, Tom "Curley" Ruff and Dennis M. Drake.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this ten-disc set, a comprehensive collection of everything Parker recorded for Verve. Though not as incendiary as the Dial and Savoy boxes, the Verve set still witnesses Parker developing the model for modern jazz, devising styles and techniques that would define the genre for the rest of the century. The range of material here is impressive, and the music shows Bird venturing beyond his already wide-reaching jazz horizons to encompass Afro-Cuban influences and Classically tinged phrases. He even quotes from Stravinsky's THE RITE OF SPRING on "Repetition."
The list of session musicians reads like a veritable who's who of jazz. Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Buddy Rich, Lester Young, and Max Roach all put in appearances. Here also are Parker's controversial sessions with strings. While purists cried sacrilege at the marriage, the playing is rich in tone and body-to the point of dreaminess--and, even in an orchestral context, Parker is never less than experimentally virtuosic. In short, THE COMPLETE SESSION ON VERVE is an essential contribution-along with the Dial and Savoy sessions--to a complete picture of one of jazz's greatest figures.
Vibe (12/99, p.157) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century