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Charlie Parker Quintet at Birdland (NYC, November 1952)

Klacto/Zu-Zazz (1988), "Charlie Parker - Ballads and Birdland". With Charlie Parker (alto sax); Milt Jackson (vibes); John Lewis (piano); Percy Heath (bass); Kenny Clarke (drums)

From the liner notes by Mark Gardner:

"Side A is completed by the unique meeting between Bird and the Modern Jazz Quartet at Birdland on November 1, 1952. "I think we'll do a little bit of How High The Moon," Bird informs compere Bob Garrity at the start of the session. In his Moon solo Bird inserts some audacious quotations including a passage from Buttons And Bows. The opening and closing choruses are played against a Latin beat. After solos by Jackson and Lewis, Bird indulges in some crisp fours with Klook. Embraceable You is played at a typical dance band tempo and John Lewis's accompaniment is not too helpful to Parker who nevertheless gives a fine reading of this bittersweet ballad. His interpolation of The Song Is You makes an intriguing end to his solo. The union between Bird and the MJQ is fascinating but far from flawless. Parker's flights could never be confined to the formal patterns being adopted by the Quartet under Lewis's detailed direction. The way Charlie cuts loose on the final 52nd Street Theme is totally alien to their sober concepts. Also, with both piano and vibes accompanying him, the backgrounds are sometimes too cluttered. As ever, though, Parker was able to transcend the limitations of any given situation."

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