Confirmation: The Best Of The Verve Years

Charlie Parker

Jazz Heritage, 1997

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


For jazz newbies, it’s hard to imagine that the Charlie Parker you hear on the two-disc Charlie Parker: Confirmation was the same Parker was responsible for laying the foundations of bebop and being a prime inspiration for the members of the beat generation. This double-disc album encompasses his sessions with the Verve record label. Under the production of Norman Granz, Parker’s music included stringed arrangements, Afro-Cuban orchestration and big band arrangements. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For some jazz purists of the ‘50s, incorporating classical arrangements such as strings was about as blasphemous to the genre as incorporating electric guitar in the late ‘60s. Those who know Charlie Parker’s music, however, know that Parker had a way of seamlessly assimilating any sound he appreciated and making it his own, no matter how diverse the genre.

Confirmation is a pared-down version of Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve, the gargantuan ten-disc collection of Parker’s time with the influential label. Confirmation contains original Parker compilations as well as covers works by such icons as Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and Oscar Hammerstein. The arrangements show that in addition to Parker’s reputation as an innovator, he was also a devout traditionalist.

Listeners who are more interested in Parker’s stamp on bebop should probably track down Parker’s works on the Savoy or Dial records from the early to mid-‘40s. By comparison, Parker’s work on Verve may lead some to believe that Granz had a role in taming down Parker’s sound to appease the masses. Not the case. Listening to the Confirmation, Parker was given an abundant run of instruments and styles to run free with. Harps, strings, woodwinds – whatever was needed to create the mood, Charlie Parker used.

Erratic, graceful, dizzying, lush, Charlie Parker: Confirmation is not the definitive “go to” album to fully grasp Charlie Parker’s genius. But as a jazz album, it belongs in the “essentials” section of your collection. It’s also a critical piece to understanding Parker’s overall impact on 20th century music.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Jazz Heritage, and is used for informational purposes only.