Charlie Parker’s “Unheard” Notes

Offering 69 tracks, most previously unissued, this new two-disk set is a monumental archeological achievement.


Charlie Parker
Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes
Verve

Courtesy of Verve

There are only a few artists whose every remnant, however slight, deserves hearing. The Beatles, Dylan, Hank Williams and Billie Holiday all qualify, as does Charlie Parker—his gorgeous alto sax sounds as fresh and inventive today as it did more than a half-century ago. Offering 69 tracks, most previously unissued, on two discs, Unheard Bird is a monumental archeological achievement. This dazzling set draws on sessions from the late ’40s and early ’50s and captures Parker in a variety of settings, from small-group dates to Latin excursions to experiments with strings. Along with false starts, incomplete takes and alternate versions of songs like “Night and Day” and “Star Eyes,” this stellar package includes the previously released master recording of each one, which provides a fascinating window into the creative process of a genius. Collaborators include fellow greats Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson and Freddie Green. Unheard Bird isn’t the place to start discovering Parker, but it’s essential for anyone who already digs his work.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.