Bird on 52nd St.

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Bird on 52nd St.
Live album by Charlie Parker



Label (s) Debut , Jazz Workshop , Fantasy , OJC , Concord

Format (s)


Genre (s)


Title (number)


running time

36:32 (LP), 78:51 (CD)


Studio (s)

Onyx, New York City

Bird on 52nd St. (also Bird on 52nd Street ) is a jazz album by Charlie Parker , recorded in the New York jazz club Onyx on July 6, 1948. The recordings were first published on the labels Debut and Jazz Workshop by Charles Mingus and appeared 1972 on Fantasy Records as a double album Charlie Parker , coupled with the album Bird at St. Nick’s from 1950.

The album

The recordings of Bird on 52nd St. were made after his studio sessions for Dial and Savoy in December 1947 ( Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1 ), but before his appearances at New York's Royal Roost, which are documented from September 1948 ( The Bird Returns ). His regular quintet consisted of Miles Davis , Duke Jordan , Tommy Potter and Max Roach . Parker played well-known standards like The Way You Look Tonight and How High the Moon , bebop classics like Thelonious Monks 52nd Street Theme , Dizzy Gillespies A Night in Tunisia and Tadd Dameron's Hot House, as well as his own title Chasin 'the Bird . The various themes are partly recorded several times, such as Monks Theme and Out of Nowhere . The first version of This Time The Dream's on Me starts right in the middle and "leaves Charlie Parker on one of his imaginative 'outings'"; Miles Davis can only be heard briefly when the theme is repeated at the end. In the second version, he "knows how to create the same theme intelligently and smoothly plays around Charlie Parker in dialogue."

Peter Niklas Wilson and Ulf Goeman pointed out that the recording - similar to Bird at St. Nick’s - was recorded with a simple "home recorder" and subsequently reduced to a tolerable level of annoying background noise. One must accept that was often simply be hidden when the former technique requires it or a larger solo of 'less important' goal using that improvisations 'sleepy' or late they appear is. "With the restoration of the bands at the re-release Through Fantasy Records (1972), sound engineer Bob Guy spent a lot of time cleaning the tapes from unwanted background noise. In doing so, individual parts of the recordings were put together like a puzzle to form a fluid whole.

The album cover in the version of the French label America shows Charlie Parker in a beret, T-shirt and pinstripe suit as he stands on 52nd Street , in the background the jazz clubs of 52nd Street .

List of titles

Tommy Potter, Charlie Parker and Max Roach (hidden), appearance at the New York jazz club Three Deuces, approx. November 1946. Photo Gottlieb .
  • Charlie Parker: Bird on 52nd Street (JWS 501, Fantasy / Debut 6011, OJCCD-114-25)
  1. 52nd Street Theme (Monk) - 2:19
  2. Shaw 'Nuff ( Dizzy Gillespie , Ray Brown , Gil Fuller ) - 1:33
  3. Out of Nowhere ( Johnny Green / Edward Heyman ) - 3:05
  4. Hot House ( Tadd Dameron ) - 2:14
  5. This Time the Dream's On Me ( Harold Arlen / Johnny Mercer ) 2:21
  6. A Night in Tunisia (Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Paparelli ) - 3:29
  7. My Old Flame (Arthur Johnston, Sam Coslow) - 3:23
  8. 52nd Street Theme (Monk) - 1:05
  9. The Way You Look Tonight ( Jerome Kern / Dorothy Fields ) - 4:42
  10. Out of Nowhere (Heyman / Green) - 2:35
  11. Chasin 'the Bird (Parker) - 1:47
  12. This Time the Dream's on Me (Arlen / Mercer) - 3:28
  13. Dizzy Atmosphere ( Dizzy Gillespie ) - 3:00
  14. How High the Moon (Morgan Lewis / Nancy Hamilton) - 3:37
  15. 52nd Street Theme (Monk) - 1:17

Editorial notes

The recordings first appeared on the Debut Records label, which Charles Mingus operated with Max Roach, on three EPs , Charlie Parker - Bird on 52nd Street, Vol. 1 (DEP 38), Vol. 2 (DEP 39) and Vol. 3 ( DEP 40). The LP edition was released around 1962 by Jazz Workshop (JWS 501), later by Fantasy (LP 6011, LP 86011), Original Jazz Classics (OJC 114, OJCCD 114-2) America (France, 30 AM 6061). Fantasy Records released Bird at 52 St. in 1972 under the title Charlie Parker , coupled with the album Bird at St. Nick’s (PR 24009) recorded in 1950 , as a remastered CD in 2007 . Currently (2012) the album is distributed by the Concord Music Group .

In the context of the recordings from the Onyx Club from July 1948 there are the parallel recordings by Dean Benedetti , which are available in the 7-CD edition by Mosaic Records .


Peter Niklas Wilson and Ulf Goeman state that the recording quality is “undiscussable” compared to today's standards; "You have to listen carefully if you want to filter out individual contributions from fellow players that were left behind in the selection process, in order to get an impression of how this quintet may have harmonized."

Scott Yanow only gave the album 1½ (out of four) stars in Allmusic and, despite Parker's good performance (his interpretation of Confirmation was wonderful), complained about the horrific quality of the recording.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Charlie Parker discography at
  2. a b c d Peter Niklas Wilson & Ulfert Goeman: Charlie Parker , Waakirchen, Oreos Verlag 1988, 115 f.
  3. ^ Peter Niklas Wilson & Ulfert Goeman: Charlie Parker , Waakirchen, Oreos Verlag 1988, 131 f.
  4. Lawrence O. Koch: Yardbird Suite: A Compendium of the Music and Life of Charlie Parker , p. 48
  5. a b Debut Records / Catalog: LP / EP series at
  6. ^ Billboard March 18, 1972, p. 66
  7. Recordings by Dean Benedetti
  8. The Benedetti recordings include recordings of the Parker band (who played a total of six concerts from July 6th to 11th) from July 6th, 7th, 10th and 11th, including an afternoon rehearsal on July 10th. Peter Losin also gives references to “quotations” from Parker during the solos; Losin also comes to a devastating judgment of the recordings.
  9. Review of the album Bird at St. Nick's by Scott Yanow at Allmusic (English)