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Various Artists: Bird Up: The Charlie Parker Remix Project...

[cover art]

The idea of an album that remixes the Savoy output of Charlie Parker may be horrifying for some, but before you join the purist mob take a gander at the names involved. Producer Matthew Backer has picked quite a crew of tasteful mavericks to remix the saxophonist, and Hal Willner's multiple appearances alone pay respect to the man who made tribute albums exciting. Willner's Whoops, I'm an Indian project turns "Salt Peanuts" into a musical genre-hopping wild ride with the Kronos Quartet providing the screechy edge and Dr. John laying down some boogie. It could have been a royal mess, but it isn't. Dan the Automator bends the recordings with a smirk and funk, but he's totally outdone by the turntables of the X-Ecutioners, who scratch right along with an especially hot Parker solo. Me'Shell Ndeg Ocello plays some deep, intuitive bass to a rather choppy "Relaxin' at Camarillo," and "All the Shadows of Nuff" finds Garth Hudson's keyboards adding the needed lyrical touch to Willner's quick juxtaposition of four separate Parker tunes. System of a Down's frontman, Serj Tankian, provides the album's highlight, sounding like Tom Waits and Bono's love child on the eerie and yearning rave-up "Bird of Paradise (Gone)." Naysayers should hear RZA scatting along with Bird, El-P's trippy mix, or Hubert Laws' expressive flute runs before dismissing the album entirely. Too many likeminded productions with their echoes and crackles make the album easier to take in small doses. Bird Up at least captures the innovative spirit of Charlie Parker, doesn't do any damage to the icon of hip, and makes for an exciting listen.
--David Jeffries, All-Music Guide


  1. Now's the Time (No Time Like Now) performed by Red Hawk / Deke Damascus
  2. Relaxin' at Camarillo (August 29) performed by Me'Shell NdegeOcello
  3. Salt Peanuts (The Mr. Peanut Chronicles) performed by Hal Willner / Kronos Quartet / Dr. John
  4. Bird of Paradise (Gone) performed by Serj Tankian
  5. Congo Blues (Silencer) performed by Donk / Ravi Coltrane / Wild Children / Hubert Laws
  6. Bebop (Live at the Rooftop) performed by Choco / RZA
  7. Steeplechase (Sittin' on 22's) performed by Dan the Automator
  8. Cheers performed by Rob Swift / X Ecutioners
  9. A Night in Tunisia (Downpour) performed by Donk / Coconut Tree / Kodo
  10. All the Shadows of Nuff performed by Hal Willner / Garth Hudson / Mocean Worker
  11. Perhaps (Someday the Roof Will Get Fixed) performed by Dan the Automator
  12. Barbados (Where Fish Fly) performed by Matthew Backer / Hubert Laws / Redback
  13. Constellation (Heavenly Bodies) performed by El P / Stephanie Vezina

Various Artists - Bird Up: The Charlie Parker Remix Project... - 2003 - Savoy Jazz 17147

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