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Subjects Info
RD: 2022-11-18
Birth Of A Bird
Label: Jazzline
Fileunder: Jazz / WDR Big Band
End of August of 2020 the international world of jazz was celebrating “100 Years Charlie Parker”. Even those who had not noticed it before now realized that a great musician was being commemorated. Despite the COVID 19 pandemic his work and life were honoured with several projects: these included exclusive LP-editions, books and – obviously – concerts. Already in autumn of 2019, it was clear that the WDR Big Band would contribute to the Parker-Jubilee. Quickly our former long-time chief conductor Michael Abene agreed to take on the project as arranger. Two alto saxophonists were put at the centre: our lead-alto JohanHörlén and his terrific colleague from the NDR Bigband, Luigi Grasso. Exactly one week after Charlie Parker’s birthday, we were able to perform our concert at the Philharmonic Hall in Cologne in front of an audience – a very special privilege in the Corona-season of 2020/21. One concession to the pandemic was that the band members were sitting further apart than usually, with the saxophones even placed at the stage edge, with their back turned towards Jörg Achim Keller, our conductor. However, the current album is a studio production of the concert programme and not affected by these adversities.

A Parker-Homage performed by a Big Band is no simple task for an arranger, as bebop is usually considered better suited for combos. In addition, Charlie Parker was certainly no fan of orchestral jazz, in contrast to his buddy Dizzy Gillespie. Curiously,atthe very end of his short life,he performed with the big bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, and his first engagement was in Kansas City at Jay McShann’s orchestra. Nevertheless, if heplayedduring the main phase of his career in an orchestral setting at all, then usually just with string players, as it was the case on the two legendary Mercury recordings “Charlie Parker with Strings” Vol. 1 and 2 from the years 1949/50.
Track list
1WDR Big BandChi-Chi
2WDR Big BandAh-Leu-Cha / Scrapple From The Apple
3WDR Big BandOrnithology
4WDR Big BandEmbraceable You
5WDR Big BandMy Little Suede Shoes
6WDR Big BandConfirmation
7WDR Big BandYardbird Suite
8WDR Big BandThe Gypsy
9WDR Big BandSegment

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