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Bird Songs: Charlie Parker Centennial

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Hailed by The New York Times as “one of the greatest musicians in jazz history,” Grammy Award winning saxophone titan Joe Lovano has distinguished himself as a prescient and pathfinding force in the arena of creative music. In celebration of Charlie Parker’s centennial, Lovano and his Us Five band revisit modern arrangements of Parker originals from Lovano’s critically acclaimed album, Bird Songs. Released on Blue Note in 2011, Lovano did not approach Bird Songs as a tribute album, but instead pushed the boundaries of Bird’s material to “rethink and reinterpret the material in fresh, innovative ways” (BBC). Lovano says:

“Putting this recording together I kept wondering how Bird would have developed within these tunes, not just as the incredible soloist that he was but as an arranger and bandleader. From what we know about him, it is clear that he was into the world of music beyond so-called Jazz and Be Bop. I’m sure we would have all been surprised at every turn in his approach just as we were with Miles, Coltrane, Rollins, and Coleman, four of his most distinguished and celebrated disciples. At the young age of 34 Charlie Parker passed and left us with all of these questions about what would be. This recording is my humble attempt to answer some of those questions in my own way.”

Thrillingly adventurous, thoroughly modern, and uniquely personal, Bird Songs gives us a look at one of the most influential figures in jazz history by one of the most important voices in the genre today. NPR says, “These songs are slowed down, torn apart, reconfigured, mashed together, impressionistically meditated on and pried open for investigation. This isn’t done lightly: Bird’s music is iconic source material, at least for jazz musicians, if not for American culture at large. But Bird Songs proves that there’s plenty of space to imagine yourself in it.”