Charlie Parker/Arne Domnerus:11.22.50 - Sweden
By: Nathan Rodriguez
Charlie Parker is in that elite club of individuals who forever changed music. His unique sense of phrasing on the sax influenced jazz for generations to come.
Naturally, news of a Parker release from the vaults brought a smile to the face of music lovers but, if you're looking for a balls-to-the-wall Parkerfest here, you may come away just a touch disappointed. For first impressions, the disc is pretty short. Parker plays on the first four tracks while Arne Domnerus fills in on alto sax (with the same backing band) on the last three tunes. The entire show lasts just over half an hour.
That being said, there isn't a bad track on the disc. Anthropology" opens things up, with solid rotating solos from Parker, Rolf Ericson (trumpet) and Gosta Theselius (piano). Ericson shines brightest, and eventually he and Parker have a mini-duel that soon evolves into a duet as the song blends to a close.
Cheers" is a little more spacious, and Parker stretches out a bit more in his solos while Theselius adds in some nice up-tempo coloration on the keys. Loverman" is nice while it lasts - there may not have been any performance issues, but talk about minute man syndrome!" The song finishes quicker than a nerd dating a supermodel, clocking in under two minutes. Parker and Ericson again exhibit great chemistry in the aptly named Cool Blues," which features a steady walking bass line. Thore Jederby keeps the entire set simmering with hearty, well-chosen plucks on the upright.
Arne Domnerus' sixteen minutes of fame were well spent. While Fine and Dandy" and Out of Nowhere" work, it's the closing All the Things You Are" where you see why the guy split the bill - or in this case, closed the show - with Parker on their tour of Sweden. Parker sizzles in his technical playing, while Domnerus is much more patient and contemplative in his approach, and the juxtaposition of the two makes for a nice, varied set of music.
As far as recording quality goes, it's pretty damn solid for being produced in 1950, but even if you have your speakers cranked to 11, you almost feel compelled to lean in to give the disc your full attention. It would have been especially nice if Theselius was positioned a bit closer to the mic, but then again, he's not the main attraction.
It's amazing to stop and think about how far music has evolved in the last six decades. The Parker and Domnerus release today comes off as decidedly old school, but was incredibly avant-garde for its day, and that style has since seeped into the consciousness of everyone from Miles to modern-day artists.