Thursday, April 9, 2009

AccuJazz News: Roll-Out Continues With "Composers: Bird and Diz"

This week's new channel is the third addition to the "Jazz by Composer" category, and it's all about Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, known to jazz fans as "Bird" and "Diz," respectively. While we all think of the innovations of Bebop as mostly pertaining to improvisation, it also ushered in a golden age of jazz composition. Bird and Diz wrote prolifically, and contributed a number of standards to the repertoire.

Tunes like "Now's the Time," "A Night in Tunisia," "Yardbird Suite," and "Salt Peanuts" are as prevalent in jazz recordings and jam sessions as old Tin Pan Alley favorites like "All the Things You Are," and "What is This Thing Called Love." While you'll hear plenty of the aforementioned Bird and Diz tunes on this channel, you'll also have the opportunity to hear many of their lesser-known compositions performed by a diverse cast of musicians.

Some rare gems have come up on my recent listens.There's the version of Bird's "Dewey Square" performed, on piano, by avant-garde reed master Anthony Braxton, from his 1995 album "Seven Standards." There's also an adventurous 7/4 reading of Bird's "Confirmation" by the young saxophonist John Ellis, and a whole album's worth of lesser-known Parker tunes performed by a drummer-less trio led by trumpeter Roy Hargrove ("Parker's Mood").

Whether you're a bebop expert or curious as to what all the fuss is about, this new channel is definitely worth checking out. Listen now and let me know what you think right here on the blog or on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or the ShoutBox on the AccuJazz homepage.

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