Norman Granz, the owner of Verve, got hold of Charlie Parker just a little too late. Coming off a contract with Savoy -- where he had recorded several albums worth of fiery and substantial material -- Parker was coupled with studio musicians and string sections (rather than his regular touring band) for most of his Verve sessions. Plus, the same "individuality" that manifested itself in blistering solos was hammering away at his personal life, thanks to a nasty heroin addiction. Those two things added up to releases that, though still impressive, weren't possessed of the same intensity as the Savoy and Dial sessions. Still, the lesser work of a genius eclipses the best work of most, and the 73 tracks on this beautifully packaged three-disc set are ample evidence of that. Meticulously remastered and presented chronologically by session, this set is an excellent document of a master in his self-inflicted twilight.
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