Saturday, January 13, 2018

Charlie Parker, broken windows, bad weather

Two Thursdays ago, when it was really cold, the back passenger's side window of my car got smashed. The car was parked in a lot while my son and I were having dinner in Eat N Park. Locals beware: It was the lot between Bartlett and Beacon Streets in Squirrel Hill. A friend of mine was mugged there in broad daylight a couple years ago, which I should have taken as a tip to keep away. Don't park there. I heard there have also been a rash of broken car windows near Frick Park as well.

At first I thought, well this sucks but at least there was nothing in the car. Then I started remembering what was in the car: I had an ECM tote bag (from Winter JazzFest 2016). Eh, just a few issues of JazzTimes and downbeat were in there and they're replaceable.  But... [cue the tragic music] the 8-CD Charlie Parker Complete Savoy and Dial Session box was in the bag, except for Disc 4, which was in the car's CD player. I left the booklet at home (a very important part of that set), thinking that with any snow and ice that might get into the car, I didn't want that to get damaged. If only it had just gotten wet.

There's more. Donovan's piano lesson books were in the bag too. After filling out a report with the police, getting ready to drive home, I also realized the kid's backpack was taken too. I hope the bastard that took it liked his shoes. (Thank God his drum practice pad from school hadn't been in there as well.) A day later I was reaching for my new calendar/appointment book when...gone. Santa was nice enough to reorder one for me, which I got earlier this week.

Tips - If this happens to you, the heavy duty vacuum at most car washes/gas stations can suck up the glass. My car is a 2015 and the glass shattered in chunks so there weren't very  many small shards around. Putting a garbage bag over the window is okay for overnight parking but driving with it is ridiculous. (After driving about five blocks, it was practically off the door, so I just ripped it all the way off.) Getting it on was probably the most frustrating part of Thursday night. The roll of duct tape we have is pretty old and brittle anyway, and getting it to stick in the freezing cold was a big challenge.

The good news was insurance hooked me up with Safe Lite, who got a new one in the following day. All that was left to do was mourn the losses.

That Parker box hurts on a number of levels, the biggest one at the moment being that I was just started to get back into a Bird kick, listening to more of his music. Recently, I started organizing all of my Parker albums chronologically, both the studio albums and the live recordings. Someday, I want to look at all of them and see how closely I can track his life - week to week, month to month, season to season?

I got that eight-disc set used and it was a really smart purchase, both as a reference and for the music and info it provides. I have a Savoy two-fer with all the masters on vinyl, and a best of the Dial sessions, but this had all that and more, sequenced an order that made sense. Each session presents all the master takes in a row, followed by the alternate takes. It welcomes casual listening but makes it easy to do the analytical listen for those who so desire.

The box is out of print, so I started asking around if any friends have it. If I copy it, all I need is the booklet really. The cover was nice, but I can live without it. One friend rummaged through a box of stuff and realized he does, so I'm set. Although, I did see a used copy pop up for a great price online. I'm tempted....

Prior to the break-in, I was contemplating Mosaic's set of Dean Benedetti's Parker recordings. These are the ones recorded with often no trace of fidelity and only capture Bird's groups when he was playing. (Once he's done soloing, Benedetti stopped the recorder.) Bad sound, but important music. I think part of my sudden desire to get it was related to the set being on Mosaic's "Running Low" list. It's getting hard to get, so I must have it!

Trying to buy it right now is out of the question since it costs a little over $100 and I just bought a couple fancy records online. Then I discovered that the Penn Hills library has a copy and the Carnegie Library in Oakland could get it for me. So I requested it.

When I woke up this morning, I saw an email that it's waiting for me at the library. Pity then that all this blakenty-blank snow is going to keep me from getting over there today.

I'm looking forward to the spring.

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