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Capturing the sound of Bird

A Tribute to Charlie Parker
A Tribute to Charlie Parker
By Charlie Watts Quintet

Continuum Records: 1992

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This review first appeared in the November 27, 1992 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts lends his name (big) and drumming talents (bigger) to saxophonist Peter King's tribute to Charlie Parker. King does an excellent job at capturing Bird's bright tone, and his arrangements are also true to Parker's sound.

This generous offering of bop and straight-ahead jazz is divided into two sets, both recorded live last year at Ronnie Scott's club in Birmingham, England. The first set consists – with two exceptions – of songs written by King in memory of Parker, a sort of Charlie Parker Suite. The band cooks here, unencumbered by the strings that haunt the second set, and the King material sans strings probably does a better job at capturing the essence of Bird's music than the second set of songs Bird wrote and/or recorded.