I’ve just acquired and been blown away by The Passion Of Charlie Parker. Larry Klein pulled it together. David Baerwald provided lyrics to Charlie Parker’s compositions to be sung by several vocalists, including Kurt Elling, Gregory Porter, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Luciana Souza, Kandace Springs, emerging French chanteuse Camille Bertault, Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan and actor Jeffrey Wright. The lyrics tell the tale of Parker’s life. More than that, the core of seven musicians are given plenty of space to reveal his drive, energy and, indeed, passion in their playing. Guitarist Ben Monder, keyboardist Craig Taborn, drummer Eric Harland (with Mark Guiliana subbing on one track), alternating bassists Scott Colley and Larry Grenadier and, in the bird seat, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin capture his transformation into a legend perfectly. It’s a stunning, beautifully realised tribute.
I see Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters as being in the same vein and Joni, herself, did something similar with Mingus but tribute albums that are more than simply a collection of cover versions is rare.
Any other suggestions from The Afterword?