Barbara Dennerlein's legendary recording from 1987 with the famous Big Band of Peter Herbolzheimer. This recording features not only Hammond organ & Big Band but also smaller groups like a Septet and a Quartet within the Big Band. Bebop at its best!!
Original liner notes from Werner Burkhardt:
"Bird Lives" – this legendary inscription seen in New York, on the walls of underground train passageways in the Big Apple, is still puzzling. After all these years, these two words have been quoted almost to death, yet the message they proclaim is still alive. The genius of Charlie Parker has outlasted fads and fashion. Older jazz fans have never forgotten Parker, the great bebop revolutionary. Yet, a younger crowd has long since thought of Parker, whose music was shaped by life itself, as a stylized cult figure. And musicians?….. they are doubly in awe of him. He has engendered their admiration, always having brought out their own creativity. So now the legend has caught Barbara Dennerlein. The organist from Munich pays tribute to the alto saxophonist from Kansas City. It’s not surprising that this musical declaration of love should come, and it didn’t just appear out of the blue: her homage had begun long before, however paradoxical it may sound for a musician born only in 1964. Already Barbara had previously recorded an LP-album live at the jazz club “Allotria” in Munich. The album’s title, “Bebab, was a kind of word game with syllables taken from “Bebop” and “Barbara”. On this disk, exclusively devoted to Parker, Barbara consistently expresses her love for the musical genius. But this must not be misunderstood as a kind of plodding, dogmatic interpretation of Parker’s works. On the contrary; she breathes life into his works! She blooms and draws the listener in! She swings and swings! In her live performances she is equally animated, entertaining the audience with her stories and personal experiences on numerous stages, at jazz clubs and festivals. Her being awarded the German Record Critics Jazz Prize, only confirms what fans in Munich and elsewhere already knew long ago.
Bird had Dizzy and Miles at his side. Likewise, Barbara is smart enough not to find her way alone through the Bebop landscape, but to travel with excellent, inspiring companions. The musical “soundscape” lights up in three colors. First the three-member rhythm section joins the organ. Then the spirit of the classic Bebop combo is conjured up, but with a modern up-to-date twist; the trombone joins the traditional brass section of trumpet and saxophone. And finally, the Peter Herbolzheimer Big Band enters the scene for four tracks, with a fresh, completely modern big band sound, yet one that has still not cut the strings that connect it with the past. Sometimes the rhythm section is subtly silenced, and only the horn section shines. The arrangements exhibit such joy with tight riffs, that a memory comes to mind again: from Kansas City, the city where Charlie Parker raised his musical voice for the first time, and before him, Count Basie. To admire both of them, and certainly also Barbara Dennerlein, is not hard. This time around, however, she plays only compositions from Parker, except for dedicating four of her own, written in the spirit and style of the master. These are without doubt specially written for this undertaking! But above all, they are just opportunities to play for Barbara and her organ. Whether now Jimmy Smith or – maybe…. hopefully! – also Fats Waller were the inspiration behind Barbara’s talent, can be left for theorists to argue about. Barbara draws her music so completely from the innermost being of her instrument and her style is completely unrelated from that of a piano, with long sustained tones and sizzling blues passages. It suddenly becomes very clear: here is a musician who finally gives the organ what it deserves. You don’t need to write it on Munich subway walls, but it must however be said: Bird and Barbara will live on!