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The Essential Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker

Polygram Records, November 3, 1992 (songs from 1946-1953)

Track Listing: 1. Now’s the Time, 2. If I Should Lose You, 3. Mango Mangue, 4. Bloomdido, 5. Star Eyes, 6. Confirmation, 7. My Little Suede Shoes, 8. Just Friends, 9. Lover Man, 10. I Got Rhythm, 11. Repetition, 12. K. C. Blues, 13. Relaxing With Lee (Master Take), 14. April in Paris, 15. Okiedoke, 16. The Song Is You

Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music, but man, there’s no boundary line to art.

-Charlie Parker

Something wicked. Something in the way. (this way come). She moves. (he smiles). Some Black Buddha. The everlasting angel of molten muse-fire. Something burning (baby). Something bright. (sometimes the air I breathe) The scorch of Hermes (crackle). The lightning bush of god (pop). Oh Lamb of God, you take away the ills of the world (sometimes). The hard flap of wavy hair out a car window (on the sad highway). The long and sticky road to self-discovery. Self-help. Self-control. Self-denial. Self-explanatory (there is no self). Something strange. Something very, very wrong. Something down there? (go to the cellar and look). Don’t let the sun. Just don’t. Something you did last summer (crying). Last night. Last year. Tomorrow morning. In the shower. In the closet (you know you did). Your next life. Your last. It’s always something, dammit! Let it blow. Let it blow down these sad and tired walls.

Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.

-Charlie Parker

Jazz is a funny thing. A holy thing. Secret blue notes sifting through your dirty hands. It’s like tacks on the road. A strangled cat in your garden. A crooked cloud that hangs pink and jagged across a horrible northern sky. No one knows where it comes from. No one can explain. It’s like gnawing on icicles. Slipping in dog shit. Like pushing that funny button everyone told you never to push. The fat earth blows up. Your soul hollows out. You can see red nebulae and super novas. Dwarf stars and purple holes (’scuze me while I kiss it). See the ugly white spine of the universe twist! rickety, cranky, clunk! In huge verta-chunks across a dark forever.

The first time I heard Bird play it hit me right between the eyes.

-John Coltraine

The blackest eyes are blue. They turn faces to stone. Tell fortunes and futures. Out of body. Out of mind. Third eyes (third exit on the left). Sad eyes. Evil. Blue eyes just know that there’s no control. It’s just the feeling of grabbing onto an ineluctably hot wire as it turns you on and fries you to death. Zaps you to a crisp. Like some epileptic winter possession (she’s lost control again). So Pick up a sax. A guitar. A piano. A hollow tube or axe. Your neighbor’s car. Your girlfriend or boyfriend or both. You can pick your friends but you can’t pick the way you’ll leave this earth. So pick something good. Blow it hard. Make it squeak (honk). Squeal! (quack). There’s a hundred thousand birds flying south for the winter. You are just one. Spread your wings (you little snowbird you). The brass is cold to the touch but oh how it blows. Oh how it blows.