So great was Parker’s impact that he may have been the first artist to undergo exposure by outtake and bootleg. Today, no digital reissue is complete without each familiar track being dogged by its crowd of inferior ghosts. Parker’s Dial outtakes were issued in the late Fifties and his Verve outtakes in 1990 on the Bird boxset. The missing link recordings at Minton’s were bootlegged in the Fifties, and so were radio broadcasts of Parker’s gigs in dancehalls. Listening to these recordings demolishes one ideal about jazz — that solos are pure inspiration, hatched from the fingers like Dionysus from the thigh of Zeus — but it also confirms another ideal: jazz as an art of spontaneous recomposition.
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