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  Fantasy -
  The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall
  "Jazz at Massey Hall"

The Quintet:
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Bud Powell
Max Roach
Track listing:
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 3

Reviews: 3

Review by Claude May 15, 2004 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
It was rather surprising that Fantasy would reissue this 1953 session on SACD, as it is a live recording with many technical flaws, as the previous reviewer has noted. However the sound has been markably improved over the original CD reissue from 1989 (I haven´t heard the K2 20Bit CD reissue). The overdubbed bass is a bit too prominent, but gives this rather thin and distant sounding recording a stronger fundament. There are occasional drop outs and distortion, but overall this disc brings over the live atmosphere very well. The recording quality is much better than on Bird's 1940s studio recordings and on par with the best late Verve sessions. I give it 3 stars for sonics because of the quality of the remastering. If strict high fidelity criteria applied I would have to give it less.

Musically, this session is overrated in my view. Because of the (re-)union of those bebop giants Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach and Charlie Mingus (the latter not yet a legend then) it was an important historical moment in jazz (it's alternative album title is "The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever"). This sense of occasion also comes through in the enthousiam of the playing and the crowd reaction. All the tracks are between 6 and 9 minutes long, allowing for much longer solos as on Bird's studio sessions. The playing is very relaxed, but it is also missing adventureness and urgency of previous sessions. The Charlie Parker of the 50's was only a shadow of himself, but he was still one of the greatest improvisers. This concert has a bit of "Jazz at the Philharmonic" jam session feeling. If you want to buy only one or two discs of Charlie Parker's music, get a compilation of his Savoy or Dial recordings (1945-48). But as far as SACD go this reissue has no competitor, and with the quality of the music and the historical importance it deserves 5 stars.

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Review by norfish April 26, 2004 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This has long been considered one of the masterpieces of modern jazz with Charlie Parker on alto and Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet. The version of Salt Peanuts alone is worth the price of the CD. Yet the sound quality of the concert, taped by Charlie Mingus on a portable tape player, was horendous. So much so that on the original release by Mingus on his Debut label, the bass notes (hardly audible on the original tapes) were overdubbed! Hence, the idea of reissuing this recording on SACD was either the act of a madman or that of a genius. Turns out to be the latter. This recording has never sounded so vibrant and alive. I would guess that this recording is the closest that most of us will ever get to hearing Charlie Parker play in our living rooms. Of course, nothing could make this an audiophile record. But the fact that it now takes 3 or 4 stars out of 5 for audio quality is nothing short of a miracle.

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Review by krellsacd September 7, 2008 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
this is of course superiour music but unfortunately the sound quality is very bad,this is not the cause of the sacd format but the recording itself.record companies should not bring this out on sacd

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