Charlie Parker

Born on 29 August 1920 in Kansas City, Charlie Parker – or ‘Bird’ as he famously became known – began learning the alto saxophone as a child. After serving his apprenticeship with local musicians, he began experimenting with some of the harmonic concepts that led to the development of bebop, which would ultimately change the course of jazz. 

Bebop was a dynamic and seemingly new form of jazz with a new approach to rhythm that used extended harmonies, complex substitute chords and chromatic intervals as the basis of improvisation. When Parker made his first live appearances on the legendary 52nd Street in New York City in early 1945 with the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, they were to establish an audience for bebop. This led to the recording of the classics ‘Groovin’ High’, ‘All The Things You Are’ and ‘Salt Peanuts’. In the months that followed, Parker started playing with the trumpeter Miles Davis and their earliest collaboration produced ‘Now’s The Time’ and Parker’s saxophone tour de force, ‘Koko’.

After a residency in Los Angeles, which helped establish bebop in the west, Parker returned to New York in Easter 1947 and, over the next year or so, set down a remarkable sequence of recordings that are amongst the finest in jazz. This includes ‘Scrapple From the Apple’, the slow blues ‘Parker’s Mood’ and one of the saxophonist’s most accomplished ballad performances, ‘Embraceable You’. In the autumn of 1948, Parker signed an exclusive contract with Norman Granz, which produced ‘Just Friends’, Parker’s best-selling record ever. He continued to record superb pieces in the early 1950s, including ‘Star Eyes’, ‘Lover Man’ and ‘Night And Day’. Despite his innovations though, his dependence on hard drugs and alcohol destroyed him. Worn out by years of abuse, he died on 12 March 1955, aged just 34.

Charlie Parker was the supreme creative figure of his time and has remained a major influence on many jazz musicians since. The bonus album features many of the artists, who along with Parker, helped develop the dynamic form of jazz known as bebop – including Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, trumpeter Fats Navarro and trombonist Jay Jay Johnson.

Musicians

CD1: Charlie Parker

01             Tiny Grimes Quintette Feat Charlie Parker: Red Cross (1944)
Musicians: Tiny Grimes Quintette – Charlie Parker (alto sax), Clyde Hart (piano), Tiny Grimes (guitar), Jimmy Butts (bass), Harold 'Doc' West (drums) 

02             Dizzy Gillespie Sextet Feat Charlie Parker: Groovin’ High (1945)
Musicians: Dizzy Gillespie Sextet - Charlie Parker (alto sax), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Clyde Hart (piano), Remo Palmieri (guitar), Slam Stewart (bass), Cozy Cole (drums)

03             Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker: All The Things You Are (1945)
Musicians: Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Clyde Hart (piano), Remo Palmieri (guitar), Slam Stewart (bass), Cozy Cole (drums)

04             Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker: Salt Peanuts (1945)
Musicians: Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Al Haig (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Sidney Catlett (drums), Symphony Sid Torin, MC.

05             Charlie Parker’s Reboppers: Now’s The Time (1945)
Musicians: Charlie Parker's Reboppers - Miles Davis or Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Argonne Thornton (Sadik Hakim) (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums)

06             Charlie Parker’s Reboppers: Koko (1945)
Musicians: Charlie Parker's Reboppers - Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet & piano), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums)

07             Charlie Parker Septet: Ortnithology (1946)
Musicians: Charlie Parker Septet - Miles Davis (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Lucky Thompson (tenor sax), Dodo Marmarosa (piano), Arvin Garrison (guitar), Vic McMillan (bass), Roy Porter (drums)

08             Charlie Parker Quartet: Cool Blues (1947)
Musicians: Charlie Parker Quartet – Charlie Parker (alto sax), Erroll Garner (piano), Red Callender (bass), Harold 'Doc' West (drums)

09             Charlie Parker Quintet: Embraceable You (1947)   
Musicians: Charlie Parker Quintet - Miles Davis (trumpet), CP (alto sax), Duke Jordan (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), Max Roach (drums)

10             Charlie Parker Quintet: Scrapple From The Apple (1947)
Musicians: Charlie Parker Quintet - Miles Davis (trumpet), CP (alto sax), Duke Jordan (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), Max Roach (drums)

11             Charlie Parker All Stars: Parker’s Mood (1948)
Musicians: Charlie Parker All Stars - Miles Davis (trumpet), CP (alto sax), John Lewis (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums)

12             Charlie Parker: Repetition (1948)
Musicians: CP (alto sax), Al Porcino, Ray Wetzel, Doug Mettome (trumpets), Bill Harris, Bart Varsalona (trombones), Vincent Jacobs (French horn), John LaPorta (clarinet), Murray Williams, Sonny Salad (alto sax), Flip Phillips, Pete Mondello (tenor sax), Sam Caplan, Harry Katzman, Gene Orloff, Ziggy Smirnoff, Sid Harris, Manny Fidler (violins), Joe Benaventi (cello), Tony Aless (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Shelly Manne (drums), Diego Iborra (congas, bongos), Neal Hefti (arr., cond.)

13             Charlie Parker: Out Of Nowhere (1950)
Musicians: Fats Navarro (trumpet), CP (alto sax), Bud Powell (piano), Curley Russell (bass), Art Blakey (drums)

14             Charlie Parker: Just Friends (1949)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Mitch Miller (oboe, possibly English horn), Bronislaw Gimpel, Max Hollander, Milt Lomask (violin), Frank Brieff (viola), Frank Miller (cello), Myor Rosen (harp), Stan Freeman (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Buddy Rich (drums), Jimmy Carroll (arr., cond.)

15             Charlie Parker: Bloomdido (1950)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Thelonious Monk (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Buddy Rich (drums)

16             Charlie Parker: Star Eyes (1951)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Miles Davis (trumpet), Walter Bishop, Jr. (piano), Teddy Kotick (bass), Max Roach (drums)

17             Charlie Parker: Au Privave (1951)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Miles Davis (trumpet), Walter Bishop, Jr. (piano), Teddy Kotick (bass), Max Roach (drums)

18             Charlie Parker: My Little Suede Shoes (1951)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Walter Bishop, Jr. (piano), Teddy Kotick (bass), José Mangual (bongos), Luis Miranda (conga), Roy Haynes (drums)

19             Charlie Parker: Lover Man (1951)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Red Rodney (trumpet), John Lewis (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums)

20             Charlie Parker: Blue For Alice (1951)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Red Rodney (trumpet), John Lewis (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums)

21             Charlie Parker: Night And Day (1952)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Jimmy Maxwell, Carl Poole, Al Porcino, Bernie Privin (trumpets), Bill Harris, Lou McGarity, Bart Varsalona (trombones), Harry Terrill, Murray Williams (alto sax), Flip Phillips, Hank Ross (trumpets), Danny Bank (baritone saxophone), Oscar Peterson (piano), Freddie Green (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), Don Lamond (drums), Joe Lipman (arr., cond.)

22             Charlie Parker: Confirmation (1953)
Musicians: Charlie Parker (alto sax), Al Haig (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Max Roach (drums)

CD2 – Bonus CD: The Rough Guide to Bebop

01             Coleman Hawkins & His Orchestra: Woody’N You (1944)
Musicians: Coleman Hawkins & his Orchestra - Dizzy Gillespie, Vic Coulsen, Ed Vandever (trumpet), Leo Parker, Leonard Lowry (alto sax), Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Ray Abrams (tenor sax), Budd Johnson (baritone sax), Clyde Hart (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Max Roach (drums)

02             Dizzy Gillespie All Stars: Bebop (1945)
Musicians: Dizzy Gillespie All Stars - Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Don Byas (tenor sax), Clyde Hart (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Shelly Manne (drums)

03             Dizzy Gillespie Septet: A Night In Tunisia (1946)
Musicians: Dizzy Gillespie Septet - Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Don Byas (tenor sax), Milt Jackson (vibes), Al Haig (piano), Bill De Arango (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), J.C. Heard (drums)

04             Dizzy Gillespie & His Orchestra: Things To Come (1946)
Musician: Dizzy Gillespie and his Orchestra - Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Burns, Ray Orr, Talib Dawud, John Lynch (trumpet), Gordon Thomas (trombone), John Brown, Howard Johnson (alto sax), Ray Abrams (or possibly James Moody), Warren Lucky (tenor sax), Pee Wee Moore (baritone sax), John Lewis (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums), Milt Jackson (vibes), Alice Roberts (vocals)

05             Kenny Clarke And His 52nd Street Boys: 52nd Street Theme
Musicians: Kenny Clarke and His 52nd Street Boys - Fats Navarro, Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Sonny Stitt (alto sax), Ray Abrams (tenor sax), Eddie De Verteuill (baritone sax), Bud Powell (piano), John Collins (guitar), Al Hall (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums)

06             Miles Davis All Stars: Little Willie Leaps
Musicians: Miles Davis All Stars - Miles Davis (trumpet), Charlie Parker (tenor sax), John Lewis (piano), Nelson Boyd (bass), Max Roach (drums)

07             Thelonious Monk: In Walked Byd (1947)
Musicians: George Taitt (trumpet), Sahib Shihab (alto sax), Thelonious Monk (piano), Bob Paige (bass), Art Blakey (drums)

08             Thelonious Monk: Round Midnight (1947)
Musicians: George Taitt (trumpet), Sahib Shihab (alto sax), Thelonious Monk (piano), Bob Paige (bass), Art Blakey (drums)

09             Fats Navarro: Barry’s Bop (1947)
Musicians: Fats Navarro (trumpet), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Tadd Dameron (piano), Nelson Boyd (bass), Art Blakey (drums)

10             Fats Navarro: Nostalgia (1947)
Musicians: Fats Navarro (trumpet), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Tadd Dameron (piano), Nelson Boyd (bass), Art Blakey (drums)

11             Dexter Gordon Quintet: Dexter’s Riff (1947)
Musicians: Dexter Gordon Quintet - Dexter Gordon (tenor sax), Leo Parker (baritone sax), Tadd Dameron (piano) Curly Russell (bass), Art Blakey (drums)

12             Dizzy Gillespie & His Orchestra: Manteca
Musicians: Dizzy Gillespie and his Orchestra - Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet, vocals), Dave Burns, Elmon Wright, Benny Bailey, Lamar Wright (trumpets), Bill Shepherd, Ted Kelly (trombones), Howard Johnson, John Brown (alto sax), Joe Gayles, George 'Big Nick' Nicholas (tenor sax), Cecil Payne (baritone sax), John Lewis (piano), Al McKibbon (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums), Chano Pozo (congas, vocals), Kenny Hagood (vocals)

13             Tadd Dameron With Fats Navarro: Lady Bird (1948)
Musicians: Fats Navarro (trumpet), Allen Eager (tenor sax), Wardell Gray (tenor sax), Tadd Dameron (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums)

14             Miles Davis: Move (1949)
Musicians: Miles Davis (trumpet), Kai Winding (trombone), Junior Collins (French horn), Bill Barber (tuba), Lee Konitz (alto sax), Gerry Mulligan (baritone sax), Al Haig (piano), Joe Shulman (bass), Max Roach (drums)

15             Jay Jay Johnson’s Boppers: Teapot (1949)
Musicians: Jay Jay Johnson's Boppers - J.J. Johnson (trombone), Sonny Stitt (tenor sax), John Lewis (piano), Nelson Boyd (bass), Max Roach (drums)

16             Bud Powell: Bouncing With Bud (1949)
Musicians: Fats Navarro (trumpet), Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Bud Powell (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), Roy Haynes (drums)

17             Bud Powell: You Go To My Head (1949)
Musicians: Fats Navarro (trumpet), Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Bud Powell (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), Roy Haynes (drums)

18             Sonny Stitt & Bud Powell Quartet: All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm (1949)
Musicians: Sonny Stitt/Bud Powell Quartet - Sonny Stitt (tenor sax), Bud Powell (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums)

19             Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie: Hot House (1953)
Musicians: CP (alto sax), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Bud Powell (piano), Charles Mingus (bass), Max Roach (drums)