“When new works by dead artists are discovered, the first question asked is, Where have they been hiding all these years? Perhaps a safe deposit box in a Swiss bank? Or maybe a warehouse in a broken down industrial neighborhood? Or did a lucky collector pick it up at a garage sale?
Last November, a lost cantata by Mozart came to light in the archives of the Czech Museum of Music—its origins long unrecognized because the composer’s name was written in a code. A few months earlier, a missing score by Stravinsky was discovered in a dusty pile of manuscripts, untouched for decades, in a storage area of the St Petersburg Conservatoire. If the room hadn’t been emptied for repairs, the music might never have been found.
So when the Verve label announced a few months ago the impending release of Unheard Bird, a double album of unreleased music by legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, fans wondered where this music had been hiding in the 64 years since it was recorded.“