Friday, July 30, 2010

A Bit of Baroque Bebop

Yes... Now comes a recommendation for a jazz album. Why jazz? It is very simple. Jazz is the most melodic music genre there is. Just think about bebop, for instance: the melodies in it are so complicated that you might even have a hard time listening to it.. I don't like to think that being complicated automatically makes music or a melody better or more valuable but I do believe that a good complicated melody is valuable because it is a good melody and therefore melodic. To me, the purpose and definition of music has always been melodies – in most cases. There are few things which don't have any melodies in them but which I still value as music.

Charlie Parker was probably the most legendary alto saxophonist of all times. In years 1947-1952 he recorded jazz standards accompanied by a classical string section and a jazz rhythm section. The result was an exciting combination of bebop and classical music instrumentation originally released as two albums in 1950. The whole idea came around accidentally when Parker was playing saxophone in a recording studio and during a break he visited a neighboring studio room in which a symphony orchestra was making their own recordings. Parker asked if he could join them with his saxophone and the rest is history.

I am of course so excited about this because of the Bird With Strings! concert I saw at Pori Jazz about a week ago. As I already told in my Pori Jazz report, that concert was a live recreation of some of the coolest Charlie Parker with Strings recordings. Jukka Perko, his ensemble and Pori Sinfonietta (“Pori city orchestra”) really made the thing come alive. Then, why am I talking about this stuff in this blog... Because I think this is one of the best ways to get interested in old jazz and because these recordings are just beautiful! They are very baroque and the alto saxophone is one of the loveliest instruments in the whole world.. Besides, Charlie Parker was the best.

Just Friends was the song which Charlie Parker said to be his favorite “Bird with strings” recording. It is lovely... Check it out, and other stuff such as Summertime. The whole Charlie Parker With Strings compilation album, released in 1995, is also available on Spotify.

Listen to Just Friends by Charlie Parker with Strings on YouTube

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