Monday, August 29, 2005

Happy Birthday Charlie "Bird" Parker!

I was was first introduced to Charlie "Bird" Parker on the corner of 55th and Madison Ave -- in the jazz archives housed in the building that I worked at in New York City. Although I'd already been turned on to jazz by the trombone player in a band I'd played with at university, I wasn't ready for it in my early twenties. I really didn't start "feeling it" until I moved to NYC to work at a record company where I was availed to a grip of recordings made by the greats like Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, etc...Since I got all my tunes for free, I sampled everything I could get my hands on from Dylan's Blonde on Blonde to Public Enemy's Greatest Misses LP and then there was the jazz catalogue which required some heavy lifting -- there was so much of it to ingest, I couldn't do it all in a couple of sittings, this was going to take some sort of syllabus,or so I thought...

I soon got into the habit of reading bios I found lying around and parsing through the pages for the names of significant singles, LPs and whatnot -- it took a while before I started to get a clue but, in hindsight, I now see that the research enhanced my listening pleasure exponentially. A lot of people I'd met who'd been bitten by the jazz bug could be musical snobs to put it mildly -- probably taking their cues from old school critics like Stanley Crouch or the lot who scribed for DownBeat Magazine back in the day -- but occasionally I'd meet an enthusiast who was coming in from the cold on the jazz scene also; who was trying to get a toehold on the "vibe" from between the vinyle grooves as they went along, as was I - learning in that amatuerish way that either deepens one's affinity for the subject-matter of study or sours them on it completely -- I opted on the former which was also Nat Henthoff's approach...

I think in order to truly "feel" jazz, you've got to possess the facility to absorb a little history, the shit you won't find on album jackets and is buried in the lore of the players' lives, where all those cats were coming from creatively and biographically. While the whole aura of the jazz idiom has become imbued with the cliche of "urban-ness", most of the genre's trailblazers -- like Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Mose Allison and Charlie Parker -- were from the deep South, as am I. I felt a connection to Bird while thumbing through the pages of his backstory in Kansas City and how he'd recognized early on that he was wanted to be someplace else...someplace more germane to his sensibilities...I guess we all felt that way while experiencing that one-of-a-kind hell that adolescence can be -- very few of us, however, have the minerals to follow through and act on those youthful impulses because we let our lives get in the way; get tied down by the ecoutrements of adulthood. Before I realized it, I got sucked into Charlie Parker's world while listening to a live recording of a performance he'd cut in 1945 with Dizzy Gillespie at the Town Hall in New York and it was all over..."Salt Peanuts, Salt Peanuts" I listened and read and got reborn on the ontological level; I was shown a new facet of being...a little clarification's in order...


In 1945 Charlie Parker was 25 years old (Gillespie was a couple of years older ) and they were at the top of their game and weaving pastiches of notation while hacking, in unison, deeper into the sonic hinterlands leaving those without the chops light years behind -- intentionally. "Go hard or go home." They were doing what they felt had to be done to take the genre to the next logical step in craftsmanship and were unrepentant. "Salt Peanuts, Salt Peanuts." Taken contextually, it's east to see that Bird and Dizzy had plans. The train was pulling out of the station. Initially, the stalwarts accustomed to bigband swingers like the Glenn Miller Orchestra loathed bebop, some because you couldn't dance to it; some thought it was pretentious but Parker and his bebop brethren forged ahead anyhow. Hindsight 20/20 and all that, what can you say? The task these cats had set for themselves took a hell of a lot of power -- both of the will and skill...

More context: In the early days of jazz, when it bubbled up from under speakeasy door cracks after gestating in the womb of the blues artists like Sidney Bechet, Satchmo, Lester Young on up to Duke Ellington had helped introduce jazz to the masses up North in places like Chicago, D.C., Philadelphia and NYC and soon enough white acts like Miller and Benny Goodman began to appropriate the new style while watering it down into what became a pop-ish; a formulaic hit parade and pasted a caucasian face on it to make it palatable for mainstream (:white) consumption. Don't get me wrong a grip of black music would've been lost if people like Glenn Miller and later Dave Brubeck, others didn't serve as racial conduits. After the tastemakers who ran the handful of labels began to realize that "race records" -- black music -- could make them lots of scratch this phenomenon would repeat itself many times in the future in other genres with acts like Bill Haley & the Comets, Elvis, The Beatles, Pat Boone, The Righteous Brothers, Paul Butterfield, the Rolling Stones and more recently the Beastie Boys and Eminem and...whatever, we've been there and bought the t-shirt...

When one considers the harsh racial climate that were the 40s and the difficulty black artists had trying to procure paying gigs and the requisite union cards for getting session work (which most didn't), simplifying their idiom into jazz-lite did not bode well either fiscally or from an aesthetic perspective. Bird, Dizzy and co. knew this, acted on it and thus their concoction of stylistically challenging note-stacking and tandem riffing which helped them carve off a piece of the codified jazz paradigm and knead it into the subgenre that they christened bebop. Together they careened into the vastness of the vanguard while simultaneously leaving those who lacked the stones or vision bobbing in the ripples of their wake as they cut swaths of sound onstage during the witching hours in smoky nightclubs all over America...

Songs like Gillespie's "Shaw Nuff," "Hot House" and "Groovin' High" and later Bird's "Ornithology" left a labyrintine trail of cleft notes for me to follow decades later, pulling my ears in directions I'd yet to travel while staring at my bedroom ceiling in my tiny apartment back on the Upper West Side of Central Park. I followed in earnest and haven't stopped. Contrary to what those "star-bellied sneetches" (as Dr. Suess would call 'em) of the jazz world might imply, one doesn't have to be an encyclopedia of musicology to appreciate the "message between the blue notes" of a jazz song. That said, a proper dose of background helps throw everything you hear into sharper relief in a whomever's world you're listening to was living in when he cut whatever you're listening to. Besides, most of those self-styled "afficianados" are dilettantes or at least started out as such - they just won't admit it. Nobody knows everything about anything. That's one of the first lessons you learn: when you're listening closely to a really tight outfit "breathing" together all that pretension is eviscerated, the nut gets cracked open and something else reveals itself -- you know it when it happens too...that's jazz, yo. I came into this world a decade and change after Charlie Parker had moved on and I wasn't really feeling him/ his music until I'd gathered a gaggle of troubles and vices of my very own which required me to unlock a couple of tumblers within...and then I couldn't get enough. It was in my DNA, like a primordial insect sealed in amber and it made me follow the example given me, then stand in front of the looking glass and acknowledge things about me that I don't like to talk about at parties...

Charlie Parker's personal lifestyle choices left a lot to be desired; his many stays in psychiatric wards on both coasts, his lifelong struggle with heroin, then alchol when he quit doping and then his return to horse which inevitably abbreviated his stay on the planet. I guess some spirits have to move through this world faster than others and those of us not in the fast lane only get to see them streak past like comets in a fleeting blur of sound and light. And still, there's those of us who hadn't the chance to merge onto that fray at all and can only rubberneck at the treadmarks, flames and smoke that these travelers leave behind in a smoldering, crumpled heap of tangled remains; the glowing aftermath of a life lived four times the speed of most...

To apply the word "genius" to Charlie Parker would be a misnomer because although he had more talent in his pinky than an entire nonet, I think the what he had was a heightened sense of intuition which he embraced fully and used it to alter the direction of the music that he loved to play and forcing it to evolve. Going beyond the latter and all that that might encapsulate, Bird was, above all else, human. The ease with which he accepted his foibles, infused them with his life experiences, smelted it all together as his muse and spun it out of the loom of his saxophone's bell is mind-blowing because he lived hard and the way he played was a metaphor for his lifestyle...

Bird's solos have been reverse engineered and picked apart by thousands of aspiring artists searching for their voices by tracing the blueprint of Parker's quest for the same thing. They often try to no avail - maybe because they couldn't lather up their necks for the cutting board and Occam's Razor. It's all well and good to live vicariously through the exploits of those you admire but "eventually" you're going to have to float out into the abyss of the real tethered to the gossamer twine of whatever really matters to you; your truth and only you can know what that is...Bird taught me that the hard lessons come straight at you from the deep, dark crevices in your soul and without warning. I think he knew this all too well, so whether he was kicking junk in the bathroom of a Harlem flop house or while sitting in the great room of a baroness' mansion he had to be him. That last forced those around him (and those he'd never meet) to either accept him or get left behind which he ultimately did anyway when he overdosed in 1955. What a waste...

In closing, saxphonically speaking (and in broad strokes for brevity), Charlie Parker was the concrete pavement on a bridge extending from the roots of jazz in New Orleans and Bechet and Armstrong and Young to the days of Davis, Coltrane, Artie Shaw&si=rhino">Julian "Cannonball" Adderly,, Coleman and Yusef Lateef. The latter artists, in turn, formed the mile markers that takes the listener to players like Gato Barbieri, Grover Washington, Jr., both Wynton and Branford Marsalis and (dare I type it) Kenny G and Dave Koz. That last two have created an angry froth among "tech-heads" (like Parker and Gillespie themselves were back in the day) but maybe it might comple some group of young machers in the future to turn "cool jazz" on its ear and make it (once again) hip to be challenging. To thin out the herd of popsters by forcing their audiences (yet again) to follow them down the rabbit hole and return the genre to the level of sophistication that it was at back in Bird's day instead of the beastly elevator pap that it has become...I'm still a believer, though.

The simple fact that the music Parker cut sixty years ago is still influencing musicians, painters, writers, actors, architects and whomever else is telling. While today he'd probably get written off as a basket case, a junkie or worse, I don't think it would matter to Parker in the least. Despite the fact that he grew up in the Jim Crow South and died in the segregated North, his muse couldn't be squelched; he broke on through anyway. Sometimes you got to listen to the metronome ticking within and fuck the mea culpas. Charlie "Bird" Parker had a hand in teaching me about that last little bit and for that I'll always be grateful. Happy Birthday Bird! You're gone but certainly not forgotten...Happy Birthday Bird! You're gone but certainly not forgotten...



-- Timeline --




1939 Leaving Kansas City for Chicago, Charlie Parker ultimately ends up in New York City, the new jazz mecca, following the mass exodus of musicians previously rooted in the fading scene in the south.

1941 Jay McShann's ensemble is signed to record on Decca, which is Charlie Parker's professional recording debut.

1942 The McShann band debuts in NYC at the Savoy Ballroom, which effectively introduces Parker to the jazz cognicenti in Manhattan,shortly after which he transplants himself in New York for good.

1943 Parker plays in pianist Earl Hines’ band, which leads to work backing Hines’ resident vocalist, Billy Eckstein. The group also features the trumpet player John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie in it's lineup- the two hit it off.

1945 Parker and Gillespie record together with Clyde Hart and his All Stars and later with Sarah Vaughan. Parker begins to come into his own as a leader under the auspices of a recording deal with Savoy Records. The sessions yield classic records of "Now's the Time", "Cherokee" and "Ko Ko" with a backing ensemble comprised of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Curly Russell and Max Roach, dubbed "the Ree Boppers". Later, Parker and Gillespie take a journey out to the west coast with a new sextet featuring the two. Shortly after the LA gig, Parker, Gillespie et al are set up to record for Dial records before returning to NYC. Parker does not show for the secondary scheduling and it is here that he and Gillespie cease to perform as a unit- although the two would work together in the future, their professional collaborations would never again be codependently based.

1946 Recording sessions with Dial Records are set with Parker ,after the rest of the group goes back to NYC, producing "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology" and "Moose Mooche". Conversely, Parker's proclivities for heroin use begins to consume him and he is arrested in LA which results in his detainment at Camarillo State Hospital for the rest of the year.

1947 Upon his release from Camarillo, Bird returns to Los Angeles and arrangements are made for him to record at Dial. These sessions yield "Cool Blues" and "Past Due"- later called "Relaxin' at Camarillo". At this point Bird fan Dean Benedetti begins to record the saxophonists performances. Returning to New York, and his drug habits of old, Parker is initially invited to play with Dizzy again but the trumpeter forgoes the proposal after learning of Bird's rekindled addiction. In spite of the latter, a recording opportunity opens at Savoy Records after which he forms a performing quintet. Later, he plays Carnegie Hall for the first time, first in a quint set featuring Dizzy and later backing Ella Fitzgerald with Gillespie's Big Band in the last half of the show. With another recording ban looming in the horizon set to begin on Jan. 1 of the proceeding year. Dial Records' Ross Russell comes to NY from LA to record Bird on behalf of his label. The composite of these sessions scheduled over the last quarter of the year unsheaths a slew of Parker classics, most prolifically, "Bird of Paradise", "Scrapple from the Apple" and "Quasimodo."

1948 Savoy records Parker, irrespective of the current ban, while the saxman performs in earnest all over New York City at the top clubs on the circuit. Additionally, Parker is consigned by Norman Granz who begins recording Parker in efforts to take his music genius to a wider audience. While his active playlist is relegated to a few jazz staples, the Granz sessions presents an opportunity to record in the Afro Cuban idiom supplying a fresh supply of brilliant new Parker improvisations culminating in a recording contract with Granz.

1949 Charlie Parker takes a triumphant tour of Europe at the Paris International Jazz Festival, triumphantly returning to New York to play a gig at Carnegie Hall. Later, Bird switches gears, making more pioneering inroads, by recording "Charlie Parker with Strings".. At the year's end, the Broadway jazz club is opened and christened "Birdland" in commemoration of Parker's contribution to the genre- his band is featured in the establishment's opening night performances.

1950 A highly anticipated reunion with Gillespie in the recording studio comes to fruition with an ensemble comprised of Curly Russell, Buddy Rich and Thelonious Monk. Later, Bird takes his strings set up to the Apollo Theater in Harlem following a secondary "Parker with Strings" submission. The hornman also goes back to Europe to perform.

1951 In addition to recording with a quintet featuring Miles Davis and Max Roach and a recording summit with Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges, Bird records with Gil Evans and Dave Lambert.

1953 Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie perform together for the last time with Charles Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada.

1954 Following the death of his daughter, Parker sinks into a deep depression followed by erratic behavior and drug binges as his health goes on the wane from the hard living he'd grown accustomed to.

1955 Charles Christopher Parker dies at 35 from a combination of health complications due to his heroine use.

1984 Charlie Parker is post humously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Grammy as one of the trailblazers of jazz.

-- Mo' Facts --
-Parker had no formal jazz training, meaning he didn’t learn improvisation fundamentals from the swing jazz bands like Louis Armstrong and His Hot Sevens. He did, however, grow up in Kansas City in the ’30s—hearing artists like Count Basie, Lester Young, and R&B trailblazers who made the Missouri city a hotbed of black talent.

-Charlie’s first professional gig of note was working with alto saxophonist Buster Smith. At 17, Bird was surrounded by influences, mainly competitive, that would force him to streamline his writing skills.

-On his first visit to New York City, Yardbird gets to see forerunners of contemporary sounds such as pianist Art Tatum.

-Recording with Jay McShann between 1940 and 1942, Parker really got a chance to sharpen his jazz “chops.” He had already begun pushing the swing sound envelope with breakneck improvisation perceived as noodling to some—just barely within the structure.

-Though his skills were improving exponentially in the early ’40s, Parker’s learning went unheralded, primarily due to a recording ban issued by the musicians’ union.

-Bored with the standard fare offered by the founders of the jazz movement, Parker heard something else he dubbed “this thing,” that other technically “learned” seemed to overlook. He found that by using higher intervals of a chord as a melody line (backing them with changes in the correct key arrangement), he could indeed play what he kept “hearing” in his head that apparently no one else could. This principle is the foundation of the bop sound, which would soon dominate the jazz scene.

-Charlie Parker’s only real contemporary in artistic skill was Dizzy Gillespie, with which he recorded the genre-altering tracks “Shaw Nuff,” “Salt Peanuts,” and “Hot House.” Along with Dizzy, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Mile Davis, and Milt "Bags" Jackson he made inroads toward a choppier, harmonic knowledge driven palette on which to play individually in a constantly shifting setting- exercising thier dexterity in the evolving stylus, some of the musicians would play "upside down",literally following the written sheet music in reverse of what was scripted on the staff in front of them.

-With artistic complexities beyond the grasp of most big band jazz enthusiasts, the intricacies of bop would divide fans of the genre, Parker’s music made the “hipsters” of jazz a closed circle, where Bird found his freedom to express himself once liberated from the "pop" music market.

-Bird’s rapid fire style of soloing revolutionized the artistic approach to harmonic improvisation, the compression of “so much language” into “so little sonic space” created a medium of expression in its own right, additionally, he brought the saxophonist to the fore of live performance. Before Parker, the saxophone was used traditionally as a melodic foundation for the rest of the ensemble to bounce off of, By re-phrasing modal structure and re-emphasizing melodic notation during his solos took the sax off the sidelines and onto the playing field o
f the live dynamic.

-Parker eventually began to lead groups into tonal forays like “Now’s The Time” and “Billie’s Bounce,” which were even more complex than the recordings done with Gillespie. This would rapidly change jazz
from just a danceable music form to one that forced the listener to actually “listen” to what was being played.

-When Parker returned to the States after his success in Europe, the popular jazz enclave Birdland was named on his behalf in New York.

-Charlie Parker’s hard-living ways made it easier for his detractors to dismiss bebop as “outlaw music,” although it is now acknowledged that if recordings of Bird’s solo improvisations are slowed down, every note makes theoretic/acoustic sense. Even during his creative heyday, Parker was an enigmatic figure in the jazz world. While establishing himself as an iconoclastic/groundbreaking musician, his visage never appeared on any of his influential Downbeat albums in his lifetime.While jamming on the song “Cherokee” with guitarist Biddy Fleet, Charlie Parker “realized” how to play notes in a way that he’d been “hearing” in his head but could never actualize acoustically—this brainstorm would herald the bop jazz movement.

Albums
1946 -- Jazz At The Philharmonic, 1946 (PolyGram) Live -- PolyGram
1947 -- Diz ’N Bird At Carnegie Hall (Live) -- Capitol
1947 -- Charlie Parker -- Verve
1948 -- South Of The Border: The Verve Latin Jazz -- Verve
1948 -- Bird On 52nd Street (Live) -- Original Jazz
1948 -- Bird At The Roost: The Savoy Years, Vol. 1 -- Savoy
1949 -- Swedish Schnapps -- Polygram
1949 -- Jazz At The Philharmonic, 1949 (Live) -- Verve
1949 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 2: April -- Verve
1949 -- Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes -- Verve
1949 -- The Bird Blows The Blues -- Dial
1949 -- Charlie Parker Quintet -- Dial
1950 -- Charlie Parker & Stars Of Modern Jazz At -- Jass
1950 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 4: Bird -- Verve
1950 -- Bird & Diz -- Verve
1950 -- One Night At Birdland -- Columbia
1950 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol.1 -- Verve
1950 -- Bird With Strings (Live) -- Columbia
1951 -- Charlie Parker Sextet -- Dial
1951 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 8 -- Verve
1951 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 6 -- Verve
1952 -- Summit Meeting At Birdland -- Columbia
1952 -- The Complete Legendary Rockland Palace… (Live) -- Jazz Classics
1952 -- Boston 1952 (Live) -- Uptown
1953 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 3 -- Verve
1953 -- Charlie Parker Plays South Of The Border -- Mercury
1953 -- Yardbird: DC-53 -- VGM
1953 -- Quintet Of The Year Debut
1953 -- The Jazz At Massey Hall -- Original Jazz
1953 -- The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever (Live) -- Prestige
1953 -- Collector’s Items -- Dial
1953 -- Bird At The Hi-Hat -- Blue Note
1953 -- One Night In Washington -- Elektra
1954 -- Jazz At Massey Hall -- Original Jazz
1956 -- The Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 5 -- Verve
1957 -- A Night At Carnegie Hall (Live) Birdland
1981 -- Genius Of Charlie Parker, Vol. 3 -- Verve
1988 -- Charlie Parker With Strings Mercury
1996 -- Bird (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) -- Columbia
1996 -- Live At The Tradewinds -- Le Jazz
2000 -- Legendary Dial Masters, Vols. 1 & 2 -- Jazz Classics
2000 -- Parker’s Mood -- Jazz Classics
2000 -- Bird Of Paradise (Prism) -- Prism
2000 -- Live Sessions -- Black Label


COMPILATIONS

1937 -- Last Unissued, vol.1: Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1940 -- Complete Birth of BeBop -- Stash
1940 -- Early Bird (1940-1944) -- Stash
1940 -- First Recordings -- Onyx
1940 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 1 (Stash) -- Stash Budget
1943 -- Birth of BeBop Stash1944 -- Encores, vol. 1 -- Savoy
1944 -- Charlie Parker, vol.3 -- Savoy1944 -- Encores, vol. 2 -- Savoy
1945 -- Every Bit of It -- Spotlight
1945 -- Yardbird Suite: The Ultimate Collection -- Rhino
1945 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.5 -- Spotlight
1945 -- Charlie Parker Memorial, vol. 2 -- Savoy
1945 -- BeBop's Heartbeat -- Savoy
1945 -- Yardbird in Lotus Land -- Spotlight
1945 -- The Genius of Charlie Parker -- Savoy Jazz
1945 -- The Complete Savoy Studio Sessions -- Savoy
1946 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 3 (Verve) -- Verve
1946 -- Charlie Parker on Verve 1946-1954 -- Verve
1946 -- Bird: Complete on Verve -- Verve
1946 -- Compact Jazz: Charlie Parker Plays the Blues -- Verve
1946 -- Confirmation: The Best of the Verve Years -- Verve
1946 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol. 1 -- Spotlight
1946 -- Complete Dial Sessions -- Stash
1946 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 2 (Stash) -- Stash Budget
1946 -- In a Soulful Mood -- Music Club
1946 -- Carvin' the Bird -- Drive Archive
1946 -- The Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 1 -- Stash
1946 -- The Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 2 -- Stash
1946 -- BeBop and Bird, vols.1 & 2 -- Rhino
1946 -- BeBop and Bird, vol. 2 -- Rhino
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.3 -- Spotlight
1947 -- Lullaby in Rhythm (live) -- Spotlight
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.2 -- Spotlight
1947 -- The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings -- Mosaic
1947 -- The Immortal Charlie Parker, vol. -- Savoy
1947 -- Charlie Parker Memorial, vol. 1 -- Savoy Jazz
1947 -- Rare Bird -- Recording Arts
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.4 -- Spotlight
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol.8 -- Spotlight
1947 -- The Great Sessions (1947-1948) -- Jazz Anthology
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol. 6 -- Spotlight
1947 -- Alternate Masters, vol. 1 -- Dial
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol. 1 (Verve) -- Verve
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story, vol.2 (Verve) -- Verve
1947 -- Charlie Parker Alternate Masters, vol.2 -- Dial
1947 -- Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 1 -- Stash
1947 -- Legendary Dial Masters, vol. 2 -- Stash
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Anthology -- Accord
1947 -- Charlie Parker on Dial, vol. 7 -- Spotlight
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story on Dial, vol. 1 -- Stash
1947 -- The Charlie Parker Story on Dial, vol. 2 -- Stash
1947 -- With Dizzy Gillespie & Miles Davis -- Stash
1948 -- The Band that Never Was -- Spotlight
1948 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 4 (Savoy) -- Savoy
1948 -- Charlie Parker (Prestige) -- Prestige
1948 -- Newly Discovered Sides -- Savoy Jazz
1948 -- Sessions Live, vol.2 -- Savoy Jazz
1948 -- Bird at the Roost, vol.1 -- Savoy
1948 -- Historical Recordings, vol. 1&2 -- Les Jazz Cool
1948 -- Verve Years (1948-1950) -- Verve
1948 -- Live Performances -- ESP
1948 -- Broadcast Performances, vol.2 (live) -- ESP
1948 -- Sessions Live, vol. 1 -- Zeta
1949 -- Bird at the Roost, The Savoy years (Complete..live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Rara Avis -- Stash
1949 -- Bird at the Roost, The Savoy years (Complete..live) -- Savoy
1949 -- The Genius of Charlie Parker, vol.7 Jazz -- Verve
1949 -- Bird at the Roost, vol.2 (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Vird at the Roost, vol. 4 (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird in Paris (live) -- Spotlight
1949 -- The Essential Charlie Parker -- Verve
1949 -- Last Unissued, vol. 2: Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1949 -- Last Unissued, vol. 3: Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1949 -- Live at Carnegie Hall Polygram
1949 -- Bird at the Roost (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird at the Roost: The Savoy years (complete…live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird at the Roost The Savoy years, vol.1 (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird at the Roost The Savoy years (live) -- Savoy
1949 -- Bird Charlie Parker: 1949 concert (live) -- Forlane
1949 -- Le Jazz Cool, vol. 1 -- JC
1949 -- Le Jazz Cool, vol. 2 -- JC
1949 -- I Got Rhythm, vol. 2 -- Harlequin
1950 -- Bird in Sweden -- Spotlight
1950 -- Live at Birdland (1950) -- EPM
1950 -- Bird at St. Nick's Original Jazz
1950 -- Bird at the Roost, vol. 3 (live) Savoy
1950 -- Apartment Sessions -- Spotlight
1950 -- The Bird You Never Heard -- Stash
1950 -- Charlie Parker in Sweden
1950 -- Alamac1950 -- More Unissued, vol. 2 -- Royal
1950 -- One Night in Chicago (live) -- Savoy
1950 -- And the Swedish All Stars -- Sonet
1950 -- Verve Years (1950-1951) -- Verve
1950 -- Evening at Home with the Bird Savoy Jazz
1951 -- The Happy Bird -- Charlie Parker
1951 -- Live: Boston, Brooklyn…1951 -- EPM
1951 -- More Unissued, vol. 1 -- Royal
1951 -- Bird with the Herd: 1951 (live) -- Alamac
1951 -- Fabulous Jam Session -- Dial
1952 -- September 26, 1952 (live) -- Verve
1952 -- Verve Years (1952 - 1954) -- Verve
1952 -- Legendary Rockland Concert/ 1952 -- Jazz Classics
1953 -- Charlie Parker at Storyville (live) -- Blue Note
1953 -- Big Band -- Clef
1955 -- The Magnificent Charlie Parker -- Clef
1955 -- Yardbird -- Clef
1955 -- The Fabulous Bird -- Vogue
1955 -- Memorial Album -- Jazztone
1955 -- Giants of Modern Jazz -- Roost
1955 -- All Star Sextet -- Jazztone
1956 -- The Saxes of Stan Getz and Charlie Parker
1957 -- Dedicated to the Music of Charlie Parker
1957 -- West Coast Time -- Black Label
1960 -- Les Jazz Cool, vol. 1 -- Les Jazz Cool
1960 -- Les Jazz Cool, vol. 2 -- Les Jazz Cool
1960 -- Les Jazz Cool, vol. 3 -- Les Jazz Cool
1961 -- Historical Recordings, vol. 1 -- LeJazz
1961 -- Bird is Free Charlie Parker
1961 -- A Handful of Modern Jazz -- Baronet
1961 -- Pair of Kings: Stan Getz and Horace Silver -- Baronet
1961 -- Bird Symbols -- Charlie Parker
1961 -- Once the was Bird -- Charlie Parker
1962 -- Bird Lives -- Charly
1964 -- By the Immortal Charlie Parker
1965 -- The World of Charlie Parker -- Roost
1967 -- Bird Wings -- VSP
1967 -- Charlie Parker Plus Strings -- Charlie Parker
1973 -- Comprehensive Charlie Parker (live) -- ESP
1973 -- The Best of Charlie Parker: Dizzy Gillespie -- Roulette
1973 -- The Charlie Parker/ Dizzy Gillespie Years -- Roulette
1977 -- Apartment Jam Sessions -- Zim
1977 -- At the Pershing Room -- Zim
1988 -- Bird: The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker -- Verve
1989 -- Bird Flies High Special Music
1990 -- Memorial Concert (live) -- Polygram
1991 -- Jam Sesion -- Verve
1991 -- Birdology -- Black Label
1991 -- Jazz 'round Midnight: Charlie Parker -- Polygram
1991 -- The Immortal Charlie Parker -- Savoy Jazz
1992 -- Inglewood Jam -- Time Is
1992 -- The Bird (Sound Solutions) -- Sound Solution
1992 -- Historical Sessions -- BL
1992 -- Last Unissued, vol. 8 Bird's Eyes -- Philology
1992 -- Jazz Greats -- BL
1993 -- Don't Blame Me -- Pilz
1993 -- Congo Blues -- Pilz
1994 -- The Charlie Parker Story: In Word & Music -- Black Label
1994 -- Verve Jazz masters 15: Charlie Parker -- Verve
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 11 -- Philology
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 12 -- Philology
1994 -- Birdman -- Royal Co1994 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 1 -- A Makin'
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 15 -- Philology
1994 -- Bird Eyes, vol.16 -- Philology
1994 -- Bird at the Apollo -- Black Label
1994 -- Essential -- Polygram
1994 -- Verve Jazz Masters, vol.28: Charlie Parker -- Verve
1995 -- Birdseed: The Unheard Charlie Parker -- Stash Budget
1995 -- Montreal (1953) live -- Uptown
1995 -- Early Years -- Stash
1995 -- Early Years, vol.2 -- Stash
1995 -- Bop City, vol.1 -- Black Label
1995 -- Bop City, vol. 2 -- Black Label
1995 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 19 -- Philology
1995 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 20 -- Philology
1995 -- Bird's Best Bop on Verve -- Polygram
1995 -- Young Bird, vols. 1 & 2: 1940-1944 -- Masters of Jazz
1995 -- Bird at Birdland -- Charly
1995 -- Bird of Paradise (Eclipse) -- Jazz Hour
1995 -- Blue Bird -- Jazz Hour
1995 -- The Jam Sessions -- Xanadu
1995 -- Unheard Charlie Parker: Bird Seed, vol.1 -- Stash
1995 -- BeBop & Bird, vol.1 -- Rhino
1995 -- Bird Meets Diz -- Charly Le Jazz
1996 -- Autumn in New York -- Le Jazz
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol.21 -- Philology
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol. 22 -- Philology
1996 -- Bird with the Herd: (Drive) -- Drive Archive
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol.9 -- Philology
1996 -- Bird's the Word -- Jazz World
1996 -- Bird Eyes, vol.10 -- Philology
1996 -- Groovin' High (Total Recording) -- Total Recording
1996 -- Groovin' High (K-Tel) -- K-Tel
1996 -- Complete Charlie Parker on Dial -- Jazz Classics
1996 -- Immortal Sessions, vol.1 -- Saga Classical
1996 -- 1945, vol. 3 -- Masters of Jazz
1996 -- Immortal Sessions, vol.2 -- Saga Classical
1996 -- Jazz after Dark: Great Songs -- Public Music
1997 -- Yardbird Suite -- Collector's Ed
1997 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 4 (Masters of Jazz) -- Masters of Jazz
1997 -- 1944-1946 -- EPM Musique
1997 -- Charlie Parker, Member's Edition -- United Audio
1997 -- Roots of Jazz -- Boxsets
1997 -- Revue Collection -- Revue Collection
1998 -- 1945-1946 vol.5: Young Bird -- Masters of Jazz
1998 -- At Birdland (live) -- Ember
1998 -- April in Paris -- Import
1998 -- Gold Collection (Fine Tune) -- Fine Tune
1998 -- Masterworks: 1946-1947 -- Giants of Jazz
1998 -- Jazz at the Philharmonic, 1946 (Giants of Jazz…live) -- Giants of Jazz
1998 -- The 1947 Classics
1998 -- Complete Savoy Live Performances: Sept. 29 -- Savoy Jazz
1998 -- Jazz at the Philharmonic (Indigo live) -- Indigo
1999 -- Masters -- Cleopatra
1999 -- Jazz Archives: Parker -- Century Vista
1999 -- Talkin' Bird -- Polygram
1999 -- Young Bird, vol. 6 (1974) -- Masters of Jazz
1999 -- Ultimate Charlie Parker -- Hallmark
1999 -- Diz n' Bird -- Giants of Jazz
1999 -- Bird (Giants of Jazz) -- St. Clair
1999 -- Forever Gold -- Jazz Archives
1999 -- Cool Blues -- Melodie Jazz
1999 -- 1945-1947 -- Jazz World
1999 -- The World of Charlie Parker (Ember) -- Ember
1999 -- BeBop -- Hallmark2000 -- Les Incontournables -- WEA International
2000 -- Cool Bird Magnum Collection
2000 -- Live Performances, vol.2 -- Calibre
2000 -- New Bird: Rare Live Recordings -- Orchard
2000 -- Jazz Masters -- EM
I2000 -- Gold Collection (Retro) -- Retro Music2000 -- 1947-1949 -- Melodie Jazz
2000 -- At Birdland, vol. 1 (live) -- Ember
2000 -- Bird Goes Latin: Charlie Parker Originals -- Jamey Aebersol
2000 -- Quasimodo: The Dial Sessions -- Definitive
2000 -- The Complete JATP Performances (live) -- Definitive
2000 -- The Street Beat 2000 -- Ornithology: Rare Recordings
2000 -- The Complete Savoy Masters
2000 -- Blue Bird: Legendary Savoy Sessions
2000 -- Best of the Dial Years -- Stardust
2000 -- Jazz at Tiffany's -- Dressed to Kill
2000 -- Au Private -- Object Enterprises
2000 -- Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird: The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes) -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird: The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes) -- Savoy
2000 -- Broadcast Performances (live) -- ESP
2000 -- Charlie Parker All Stars -- Black Sun
2000 -- Parker Plus Strings -- Black Label
2000 -- Live at the Rockland Palace:Charlie Parker
2000 -- Original Bird: The Best of Bird on Savoy -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 1-3 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 7,8, & 9 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 13,14 & 15 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 16, 17 & 18 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, 4, 5 & 6 Jazz Up
2000 -- Bird Box, vols. 10,11 & 12 -- Jazz Up
2000 -- Round Midnight and Other Gems -- JCI
2000 -- The Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- The Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- The Bird: The Savoy Recordings -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird and Sarah -- Black Label
2000 -- Bird and Miles -- Black Label
2000 -- Gold Collection (Deja Vu) -- Deja Vu
2000 -- Memorial -- Savoy2000 -- Memorial, vol. 2 -- Savoy
2000 -- Bird Flies Deep -- Atlantis
2000 -- Jazz at the Philharmonic (live) -- Verve
2000 -- Rocker -- Jazz Live
2000 -- Charlie Parker, vol. 2 1949-1953 -- Saga
2000 -- Groovin' High (Jazz Time) -- Jazz Time
2000 -- The Best of Bird -- Legacy
2000 -- The Cole Porter Songbook -- Verve
2000 -- Compact Jazz -- Verve
2000 -- The Verve Years -- Polygram
2000 -- The Very Best of Bird Warner Bros
2000 -- Bird's Nest -- Trace
2000 -- Early Bird -- Le Jazz
2000 -- 1945-1953 -- Giants of Jazz
2000 -- From Dizzy to Miles -- Giants of Jazz
2000 -- Immortal Concerts (live) -- Giants of Jazz

(*Labels given where possible, most imports were left blank)

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