Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1

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Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1
Charlie Parker's studio album



Label (s) Savoy

Format (s)


Genre (s)


Title (number)


running time




Ozzie Cadena

Studio (s)

WOR Studios, Harry Smith Studios, New York City

- Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1 The Immortal Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter , Miles Davis , Duke Jordan , Max Roach circa August 1947.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .
John Lewis, photograph by William P. Gottlieb, ca.1947

Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1 is a jazz album by Charlie Parker that contained material from four recording sessions for the Savoy Records label , which were written between May 1947 and September 1948. The album, released in 1955 shortly after the saxophonist's death, was the first 12-inch long-playing record with titles from Charlie Parker's Savoy studio sessions.


The recordings for Savoy in 1947/48 took place after Parker's sixteen month stay in California; the saxophonist had an offer to perform with a five-piece band in New York's Three Deuces . Parker hired the young trumpeter Miles Davis , who was back in New York and studying at the Juilliard School of Music . The center of the rhythm section was Max Roach , who with his development of intersecting rhythms was considered one of the best drummers of the young bebop ; Added to this were the former bassist of the Billy Eckstine Orchestra, Tommy Potter and the pianist Duke Jordan .

The album

The first session (“Buzzy”) featured pianist Bud Powell ; Parker's regular pianist Duke Jordan played “Another Hair Do” in the December session that followed, and John Lewis performed in the two sessions on September 18 (“Barbados”) and September 24 (“Marmaduke”). The other musicians besides Parker were the trumpeter Miles Davis and the drummer Max Roach .

The two takes of "Buzzy" were made on May 8, 1947 during the "Donna Lee" session together with "Chasin 'the Bird". The original take of "Buzzy" was previously released as the back of "Donna Lee" as a 78er (Savoy 652). Except for a few live recordings, there are only a few recordings in which Charlie Parker and Bud Powell can be heard together.

After a series of recording sessions for Dial Records ("Scrapple from the Apple") and a Savoy session under the formal direction of Miles Davis ("Milestones") were completed from October to December 1947 , Parker went on tour with his quintet and performed in jazz clubs in New York, Baltimore, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis. While the band was in Detroit, another recording session for Savoy was held at the United Sound Studio on December 21, 1947. With Duke Jordan, Miles Davis, Tommy Potter and Max Roach, the saxophonist recorded the usual four tracks in a total of eleven takes, two blues numbers "Another Hair Do" (3 takes) and "Bluebird" (3 takes), as well as two other Parker songs. Originals, “Klaunstance” (1 take) and the fast track “Bird Gets the Worm” (3 takes). The first short take of “Another Hair Do” begins with an introduction by Duke Jordan, Parker breaks in briefly and breaks off after half a chorus when he is interrupted with the interjection “hold it!” . The second take is stopped when Parker misses the unison passage in the second chorus. Wilson / Goeman highlight "the freshness in Jordan's melodic thematic approach"; and all three takes document "great moments in Parker's game".

"Bluebird" shows Parker's "wonderful work in the blues idiom "; "Bird Gets the Worm" is one of those unassembled compositions by Parker; this builds on Jerome Kern's standard “The Way You Look Tonight” and is played by Parker's quintet at “breakneck speed”.

On September 18, 1948, Parker was again at the Savoy Studios. At the time of this penultimate studio session for Savoy, the quintet was performing at the New York Club Royal Roost (the recordings of these appearances were also released by Savoy in the 1950s). With John Lewis (p) Curly Russell (b) Max Roach in the rhythm section, four tracks were created, "Barbados" (4 takes), "A-Leu-Cha" (2 takes), "Constellation" (4 takes) and the ballad "Parker's Mood," which Davis did not participate in.

For Peter Niklas Wilson, “Parker's Mood” is the “undeniable highlight” of the penultimate recording session for Savoy; in this blues “the opening chorus is already an improvisation . The traditional twelve-measure structure not only allows Parker Parker a wealth of very different and complex variations in his three improvised choruses; he also repeatedly brings him close to his musical roots in Kansas City . John Lewis in his well-known brittle single note playing on the piano underlines and marks the rhythmic complexity and the melodic ingenuity of Parker's improvisations. "

Hans-Jürgen Schaal recalled that the singer Clarence Beeks (" King Pleasure ") made Parker's improvisation a rhythm and blues hit in 1954 by texting it tone for tone and singing it, including Parker's imminent death and a funeral in Kansas City prophesied. “It is said that the saxophonist feared King Pleasure's recording. Unfortunately, her text already came true in the spring of 1955 ”.

A week later, the last Savoy session of Charlie Parker took place, who this year switched to the larger Mercury Records label , whose jazz production was directed by Norman Granz , and made his first recordings with Neal Hefti ("Repetition") with strings. On September 24, '48 Charlie Parker All Stars recorded four tracks again with the same line-up as a week before, "Perhaps" (6 takes), "Marmaduke" (6 takes), "Steeplechase" (1 take) and "Merry Go Round "(2 takes). The session started again with a blues in C, the Parker composition "Perhaps"; Parker was only satisfied with the sixth recording, convincingly "with its perfectly coordinated theme and Parker's improvisation full of freshness and liveliness." One of the most original Parker compositions is "Marmaduke", which is based on the harmonies of Fats Waller's " Honeysuckle Rose ". It took a total of twelve attempts until everyone was satisfied (Take 8 was used). A standard (and the name of the record company Steeplechase ) became the title "Steeplechase", which is based on "I Got Rhythm"; this standard also served to elaborate the last title "Merry Go Round", provided with transition harmonies from "Honeysuckle Rose".

Rating of the album

Charlie Parker, Carnegie Hall, New York, ca.1947. Photo Gottlieb

For the critic Hans-Jürgen Schaal give these shots "the best insight into that phase when the Bebop still young and was revolutionary and Parker language saxophone new lexicalized", the author emphasizes especially at the penultimate studio session for Savoy resulting ballad " Parker's Mood ”,“ a monumental showcase for the alto saxophonist - without a second wind instrument and without a real themed chorus. In just three blues verses, Parker squares the circle , reconciling traditional slow blues with modern jazz. The transitions are fluid: sometimes his saxophone sings and shouts like a blues singer, sometimes it runs through the harmonies in 32nd notes and 16th sextoles ”.

Richard Cook and Brian Morton emphasize in their review of the album, especially the last two Savoy sessions in September 1948 with the classic "Parker's Mood" and its "unbelievable blues feeling" and "Marmaduke" were among the highlights of Parker's work. The authors also emphasize the achievements of its musicians; the drummer Max Roach is one of the key figures in these sessions despite his young age; while trumpeter Miles Davis was not happy with some of the fast-paced numbers.

C. Michael Bailey echoes the judgment of the author and critic James Patrick that Parker's recordings for Savoy consist of 30 titles; only three of these are originals, i.e. compositions by Parker that are not based on the harmonic basis of standards ( bebop head ). Eleven of the pieces are 12-bar blues; five are harmonically based on the “I've got Rhythm” standard, one on “Honeysuckle Rose”, two combined chord patterns from “I've got Rhythm” and “Honeysuckle Rose”, and eight use the progressions of other standards. 22 of these 30 titles are compositionally attributed to Parker.

The producer and Parker biographer Ross Russell , with whom Charlie Parker had recorded a number of titles for his label Dial Records in California in 1946 , said of the Savoy recordings made in 1947: “They had the uniformity that our recordings on the west coast had was missing because there was no suitable drummer available. The particularly stiff reeds Charlie had previously used had now been replaced by reeds of medium hardness (2 to 2½), and Charlie's playing had gained a new suppleness and tonal delicacy without losing the brilliance. "

The titles

Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1 (Savoy MG 12000)

  1. Another Hair Do (short-take 1) 0:15
  2. Another Hair Do (short-take 2) 0:37
  3. Another Hair Do (orig.-take 3) 2:37
  4. Bluebird (new-take 1) 2:52
  5. Bird Gets The Worm (new-take 1) 3:00
  6. Barbados (new-take 1) 2:34
  7. Constellation (short-take 2) 2:04
  8. Constellation (new-take 1) 2:30
  9. Ah-Leu-Cha (short-take 1) 0:30
  10. Ah-Leu-Cha (orig.-take 2) 2:50
  11. Parker's Mood (new-take 1) 3:21
  12. Ah-Leu-Cha (short-take 1) 0:30
  13. Ah-Leu-Cha (orig.-take 2) 2:50
  14. Perhaps (short-take 4) 0:35
  15. Perhaps (new-take 5) 2:35
  16. Perhaps (orig.-master 6) 2:35
  17. Marmaduke (short-take 5) 1:10
  18. Marmaduke (new-take 2) 2:47
  19. Steeplechase (take 2) 3:00
  20. Merry-Go-Round (new-take 1) 2:15
  21. Buzzy (short-take 4) 0:20
  22. Buzzy (orig.-take) 2:27

The sessions of the album

  • Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Bud Powell (p) Tommy Potter (kb) Max Roach (dr) - New York, May 8, 1947
  1. Buzzy (short-take 4)
  2. Buzzy (orig.-take)
  • Same line-up as on May 8; Duke Jordan (p) replaces Bud Powell - United Sound Studios, Detroit, December 21, 1947
  1. Another Hair Do (short-take 1)
  2. Another Hair Do (short-take 2)
  3. Another Hair Do (orig.-take 3)
  4. Bluebird (new-take 1)
  5. Bird Gets The Worm (new-take 1)
  • Miles Davis (tp -1/5) Charlie Parker (as) John Lewis (p) Curly Russell (kb) Max Roach (dr) - Harry Smith Studios, NYC, September 18, 1948
  1. Barbados (new-take 1)
  2. Ah-Leu-Cha (short-take 1)
  3. Ah-Leu-Cha (orig.-take 2)
  4. Constellation (new-take 1)
  5. Constellation (short-take 2)
  6. Parker's Mood (new-take 1)
  • Same Cast - Harry Smith Studios, NYC, September 24, 1948
  1. Perhaps (new-take 5)
  2. Perhaps (orig.-take 6)
  3. Perhaps (orig.-master)
  4. Marmaduke (new-take 2)
  5. Marmaduke (short-take 5)
  6. Steeplechase (take 2)
  7. Merry-Go-Round (new-take 1)

Editorial notes

Album art Charlie Parker Vol.1
External web links to copyrighted content.

After the saxophonist's recordings for Savoy Records were released as 78 recordings during his lifetime , beginning in 1944 with the single Tiny's Tempo , the label released the studio sessions under Parker's direction from 1944 to 1948 (as well as one formally under direction) in the years after Charlie Parker's death Miles Davis' originated) first on the 25 cm format (10 inch) from 1951, finally from 1955 on the new 30 cm format (12 inch); It was less about documenting the chronological sequence of the Parker sessions than about comparing the master takes on the one hand and the so-called short takes with recorded studio entertainment on the other, in order to give an even more complete musical description of Parker's sessions, according to the producer Albums, Ozzie Cadena.

The first of these releases was the album Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 1 , subtitled Plays New and Previously Unreleased Takes and His Most Famous Compositions . It comprises four recording sessions of Parker between May 8, 1947 (Cheryl, Buzzy) and September 18, 1948 ("Barbados", "Constellation"), which were created with a relatively constant cast: Curly Russell was bass player in May 1947 until he was replaced by Tommy Potter during the subsequent recordings.

The studio recordings of Charlie Parker for the company Savoy as well as selected recordings from the Royal Roost appeared for the first time as 30 cm LPs in the following editions on Savoy Records from the second half of the 1950s:

  • MG 12000 Charlie Parker Memorial - ed. 1955
  • MG 12001 The Immortal Charlie Parker -ed.1955
  • MG 12009 Charlie Parker Memorial, Vol. 2 -ed.1955
  • MG 12014 The Genius Of Charlie Parker - ed. 1955
  • MG 12079 The Charlie Parker Story - ed. 1957
  • MG 12179 The Bird Returns - ed. 1962
  • MG 12186 Newly Discovered Sides By Charlie Parker -ed. 1966
CD editions

From 1989 onwards, regular CD editions of the Savoy studio recordings followed, such as Bird: The Savoy Recordings (Master Takes), Vol. 1 . The complete edition of his studio recordings under his own name between 1944 and 1948 appeared in 2002 as The Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948 (Savoy Jazz). The entire studio output of this work phase, which Parker recorded for the Dial and Savoy labels, is included on eight CDs on 216 tracks; in addition, there are selected sideman appearances (including with Dizzy Gillespie ( Shaw Nuff ), Red Norvo ( Hallelujah ) and Slim Gaillard ( Flat Foot Floogie ) 1945) for the companies Comet, Bel-Tone and Musicraft. The re-release and remestering were directed by producer Orrin Keepnews .

Overview of the Savoy Studio Sessions

The Bird , picture by Berthold Faust in honor of Charlie Parker
  • September 15, 1944 - Tiny Grimes Quintets 1944 ("Red Cross" session): Charlie Parker (as) Clyde Hart (p) Tiny Grimes (git, voc) Jimmy Butts (kb, vo) Harold Doc West (dr)
  • November 26, 1945 - Charlie Parker Rebeboppers - ("Koko" session) Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Sadik Hakim (p) Dizzy Gillespie (p) Curly Russell (kb) Max Roach (dr)
  • May 8, 1947 - Charlie Parker All Stars ("Donna Lee") - Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Bud Powell (p) Tommy Potter (kb) Max Roach (dr)
  • August 14, 1947 - Miles Davis' All Stars ("Milestones") - Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (ts) John Lewis (p) Nelson Boyd (kb) Max Roach (dr)
  • December 21, 1947 - Original Charlie Parker Quintet ("Another Hair Do") - Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Duke Jordan (p) Tommy Potter (kb) Max Roach (dr)
  • September 18, 1948 - Charlie Parker All Stars ("Barbados") - Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) John Lewis (p) Curly Russell (kb) Max Roach (dr)
  • September 24, 1948 - Charlie Parker All Stars ("Marmaduke") - Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) John Lewis (p) Curly Russell (kb) Max Roach (dr)

See also

Individual evidence

  1. A total of five takes by Donna Lee , four takes by Chasin 'the Bird , two takes by Cheryl and five takes by Buzzy during the May session of 1947 ; see.
  2. ^ A b Peter Niklas Wilson and Ulfert Goeman: Charlie Parker . Oreos, p. 114
  3. ^ Peter Niklas Wilson and Ulfert Goeman: Charlie Parker . Oreos, p. 118
  4. ^ A b Hans-Jürgen Schaal: Review of the Savoy recordings in rondo 2001
  5. ^ A b Peter Niklas Wilson and Ulfert Goeman: Charlie Parker . Oreos, p. 119
  6. ^ Richard Cook , Brian Morton : The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD . 6th edition. Penguin, London 2002, ISBN 0-14-051521-6 .
  7. C. Michael Bailey review of the Savoy recordings in All About Jazz
  8. Ross Russell: Bird Lives! The story of Charlie "Yardbird" Parker . Hannibal Verlag, Vienna 1985, ISBN 3-85445-020-6 , p. 234 .
  9. Released on the LPs Charlie Parker, Vol. 1 , (MG 9000), and Charlie Parker, Vol. 2 (MG 9001)
  10. Ozzie Cadena: Liner Notes from The Immortal Charlie Parker