The Birth Of Bop: The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection

(Photo: Courtesy Craft)

While being released in a variety of formats, this magnum opus of bop from Craft Recordings is truly one for vinyl lovers. A total of five LPs holding 30 bebop gems from one of the greatest jazz labels of the era, Birth gives new voice to the music of Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Fats Navarro and many more.

The box spans the second half of the 1940s, when bebop reigned supreme as well as a dividing line between the old guard and the new lions of jazz. The sound was raucous, rebellious, blistering and complex. The technical ability needed to perform it was astounding.

Many of the artists performing the new music had grown up playing in big bands. Bop was a direct challenge to the music of the day, pushing toward adventure while eschewing the sweet sounds and dance-friendly swing tempos associated with the big band era.

Into this scene, Savoy Records was established in 1942, soon diving headlong into the new music with the keen eyes and ears of A&R man, producer and promoter Teddy Reig. A music fan and tireless hustler, Reig was a fixture in New York’s jazz clubs, befriending many a rising star. He formed a partnership with the label and began to bring many of the foundational artists of bop to Savoy, often serving as the producer.

In the 10-inch vinyl format, the music in this collection breezes along, with only three cuts to a side. Volume 1, Side A, for example, features Charlie Parker’s “Romance Without Finance,” Dexter Gordon’s “Dexter’s Minor Mad” and J.J. Johnson’s “Jay Bird.” All of that in under nine minutes.

The Birth Of Bop: The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection certainly isn’t a complete history of the era or the music, but it is a great introduction to those halcyon days viewed through the lens of one record company’s output. DB


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