Two rare Charlie Parker albums in a single set! First up is Bird On 52nd Street – one of the more obscure Charlie Parker sessions of the 40s – at least in the original release! The material was recorded in 1948, on a home tape recorder, but not issued until after his death – part of a huge wave of Charlie Parker material that hit the market at the end of the 50s and start of the 60s! The sound here is quite raw – made even more so by the recording quality – but it also offers up a good illustration of the sheer power of Bird back in the day, the kind of bold, bracing energy that made even more than the regular jazz world sit up and take notice. The group's a quintet – with Miles Davis on trumpet, Duke Jordan
on piano, Tommy Potter on bass, and Max Roach on drums – and there's been a few tape tricks in the mastering, in order to come up with a better version of some of the recordings. Tracks are short – in true bebop format – and titles include "Night In Tunisia", "Dizzy Atmosphere", "Out Of Nowhere", "My Old Flame", "How High The Moon", "This Time The Dream's On Me", "Hot House", and "Chasin The Bird". Next is Bird At St Nicks – a posthumous issue of an early 50s live set by Charlier Parker – one of the many that were rushed to the public in the years after his early death. The set, like many of the other live ones from the time, isn't recorded that well – but the music is still pretty wonderful. There's a real focus on Bird in the way the microphone was set up – so although you hear the rest of the band comping in the background, the album almost works like a session of solo sax work by Parker – as his alto is right out front in the mix, playing with a faltering style at times – but in a way that only seems to deepen our vision of his genius. Players include Red Rodney on trumpet and Al Haig on piano – and titles include "Ornithology", "Star Eyes", "Visa", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", and "Confirmation".