Charlie Parker, Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes (Verve)
Charlie Parker has never disappeared from the consciousness of serious jazz listeners. This two-CD collection, due out on Friday, could go a long way toward helping new generations discover the stunning purity and power of Parker’s creativity. Subtitled “The Unissued Takes,” the album brings together 69 unissued tracks and released masters that the alto saxophonist recorded for the Verve label from 1949 to 1952. For close listeners, annoyance at the stop-and-go sequence of takes gives way to wonder at Parker’s genius. The contexts range from quartet to string orchestra. Emerging jazz players will benefit from immersion in a primary source of modern music. A couple of recent articles have acknowledged Parker’s enduring importance while also pointing out that in the culture at large he is no longer recognized as a seminal artist who remade jazz. To read them, go here and here. Then—Listen.