The Bird Returns

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The Bird Returns
Live album by Charlie Parker
Label (s) Savoy

Format (s)


Genre (s)


Title (number)


running time




Rudy Van Gelder / Alfred Lion

Studio (s)

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs , New Jersey

The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings
The Bird Returns Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve
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Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter , Miles Davis , Duke Jordan , Max Roach circa August 1947.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb .

The Bird Returns is a jazz album by Charlie Parker , recorded from September 1948 to March 1949 at the New York jazz club Royal Roost and released on Savoy Records .

The Royal Roost Sessions 1948/49

According to Parker biographers Peter Niklas Wilson and Ulfert Goeman, the Royal Roost was one of those dance palaces that marked the beginning and end of “Street”, those jazz clubs on 52nd Street , in the late 1940s . It was initially a cellar restaurant and then converted into a jazz club. In the early days of the Charlie Parker Quintet's engagement in the Royal Roost , the Savoy label decided to schedule further studio recordings with Parker in the Nola studios; so on September 18, 1948 "Barbados", "Constellation" and "A-Leu-Cha" were the last studio recordings for Savoy. The record label recorded the band's performances at Royal Roost , which were broadcast on the radio, for later releases.

The band's first documented appearance with Parker, Miles Davis , Tadd Dameron , Curley Russell and Max Roach took place on September 4, 1948; among other things, the Parker classic "Ko-Ko" was recorded, which was later published on The Bird Returns .

In December Parker played four times at the Royal Roost sessions, this time with pianist Al Haig , who replaced Duke Jordan , and bassist Tommy Potter and Max Roach as rhythm section. The program of these performances, which took place every Friday evening from December onwards and were broadcast on the local radio, usually consisted of the bebop classics " Ornithology ", " Out of Nowhere ", Monk's " 52nd Street Theme ", " Scrapple from the Apple ”, the Gillespie numbers“ Groovin 'High ”and“ A Night in Tunisia ”as well as Dameron's“ Hot House ”and the then current Frank Loesser hit“ Slow Boat to China ”.

On December 24th, the musicians came to the Christmas broadcast ; From about this point on, the trumpeter Kenny Dorham was in the band for Miles Davis , and Joe Harris , a big band drummer , joined Roach briefly from January 1, 1949 . On this day, in addition to the regular appearance, there was an all-stars jam session by Parker's band with Conte Candoli , Bennie Green , Charlie Ventura and others; the weekly Royal Roost broadcasts resumed on January 15 ; so on February 12th “Barbados” was recorded, on February 26th “Scrapple from the Apple”. In addition to Parker's regular band, the vibraphonist Milt Jackson and the tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson also took part in this performance , heard in “Half Nelson” (on The Bird Returns ) and “Night in Tunisia” (on Newly Discovered Sides ... ). In addition, the bebo singers Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart came as guests with their song "What's This?".

This all-star line-up also played on March 5th and the last time on March 12th when “Slow Boat to China” (on Newly Discovered Sides ... ) was recorded with a relaxed Charlie Parker. Parker's composition "Cheryl" was also played at this last Royal Roost session; with “Chasin 'the Bird” at the Royal Roost “an era was' ushered in'”, according to Wilson / Goeman, “and the chapter Savoy / Dial also ended”. At this point, Charlie Parker was already under contract with Mercury Records and had recorded tracks such as "Passport", "Segment" and "Visa" with his band, which later appeared on Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve .

Editorial notes

Some of the recordings first appeared at the end of the 1950s on the Savoy album The Bird Returns (Savoy MG 12179 or CY-78810), shortly afterwards on the Savoy album Newly Discovered Sides by (the Immortal) Charlie Parker (Savoy MG 12186 and . SV-0156). Wilson and Goeman speak of the most confusing and misleading of the Parker discography in view of the many editions of the Royal Roost recordings, such as on Savoy, Le Jazz, Archives of Folk and Jazz Music and others.

In later years the Royal Roost recordings were released by Savoy / RCA on three LPs entitled Bird at the Roost - The Savoy Years - The Complete Royal Roost Performances (Vol. 1 - WL 70541; Vol. 2 - WL 70825; Vol . 3 - WL 70831) as well as within the Edition Live Performances ( ESP-Disk , 1947/48). The recordings are now available on four CDs as Complete Savoy Live Performances: Sept. 29, 1947 – Oct. 25, 1950 before.


In the 1994 edition of the Penguin Guide to Jazz , Richard Cook and Brian Morton included the Royal Roost recordings, along with the Savoy and Dial studio recordings, the Dean Benedetti Collection and the later recordings for Mercury, among the more important publications of the alto saxophonist. In terms of the unmanageable number of airshots , radio broadcasts and live recordings of various quality, the Savoy albums, especially The Bird Returns, are the most important, and they gave it the highest rating. They see it as positive that the interim announcements by Symphony Sid Torin have been eliminated from the edition, even if this has been done at the expense of the reproduction of the live atmosphere. The authors also highlight Miles Davis' play in the live situation, which is more consistent than with the studio recordings of the time. The exemption from the three-minute limit of the 78 recordings is also good for the game Charlie Parkers, who literally clears himself in the titles, which usually lasted 3 to 5 minutes; they see "a palpable sense of relaxation" in Parker.

The titles

The Bird Returns (Savoy MG 12179 / SV 0154)

  1. "Chasin 'the Bird" 6:28 (March 12, 1949)
  2. "Thriving from a Riff" 5:40 (February 26, 1949)
  3. "Koko" 2:32 (September 4, 1948)
  4. "Half Nelson" 3:22 (February 26, 1949)
  5. "Scrapple from the Apple" 4:39 (February 26, 1949)
  6. "Cheryl" 3:27 (March 12, 1949)
  7. "Barbados" 3:53 (February 12, 1949)

Newly Discovered Sides by Charlie Parker (Savoy MG 12186 / SV 0156)

  1. "52nd Street Theme" (Monk) 4:17 (September 4, 1948)
  2. "Night in Tunisia" (Gillespie) 4:41 (February 26, 1949)
  3. "Slow Boat to China" (Frank Loesser) 3:44 (March 3, 1949)
  4. "Groovin 'High" (Gillespie) 4:52 (December 11, 1948)
  5. "Big Foot" (a / k / a Air Conditioning, Drifting on a Reed) 4:45 (December 11, 1948)
  6. "Hot House" (Gillespie) 4:23 (December 11, 1948)

The Royal Roost appearances in chronological order

  • Sept. 4, 1948 - Parker, Miles Davis, Tadd Dameron, Curley Russell, Max Roach - 52nd Street Theme, Koko
  • Dec. 11, 1948 - Parker, Miles Davis, Al Haig, Tommy Potter, Max Roach - Groovin´ High, Big Foot, Ornithology, Slow Boat to China
  • December 12, 1948 - dto. (Also Ch. Parker (voc) with Salt Peanuts ) - Hot House, Salt Peanuts
  • December 18, 1948 - dto. - Chasin 'the Bird, Out of Nowhere , How High the Moon
  • Dec. 25, 1948 - Christmas Broadcast with Parker, Kenny Dorham, Al Haig, Tommy Potter, Max Roach - Half Nelson, White Christmas, Little Willie Leaps
  • January 1, 1949 - The New Years Eve Broadcast , with Parker, Dorham, Haig, Potter, Joe Harris - Be-bop, Slow Boat to China, Ornithology, Groovin 'High, East of the Sun , Cheryl (and Conte Candoli, Bennie Green, Flip Phillips, Charlie Ventura, Shelley Manne, Ed Shaughnessy on How High the Moon )
  • January 15, 1949 - dto. - Scrapple from the Apple, Be-Bop, Hot House
  • Jan. 22, 1949 - Parker, Dorham, Haig, Potter, Max Roach - Scrapple from the Apple, Oop Bop Sh'Bam, Salt Peanuts
  • January 29, 1949 - dto. - Groovin 'High
  • February 5, 1949 - dto. - Scrapple from the Apple, Barbados, salt peanuts
  • February 12, 1949 - dto. - Scrapple from the Apple, Barbados, Be-Bop
  • February 19, 1949 - dto. - Groovin´ High, Confirmation, Salt Peanuts
  • February 26, 1949 - Parker, Dorham, Haig, Potter, Roach and Milt Jackson, Lucky Thompson, and Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart on Deedle, What's This Half Nelson, Night in Tunisia, Scrapple from the Apple, Deedle, What's This
  • Mar. 5, 1949 - Parker, Dorham, Haig, Potter and Roach and Milt Jackson, Lucky Thompson, and Dave Lambert and Buddy Stewart on Hurry Home Cheryl, Anthropology, Hurry Home, Deedle, Royal Roost Bop ( All the Things You Are )
  • March 12, 1949 - Parker, Dorham, Haig, Potter, Roach, and Milt Jackson and Lucky Thompson - Cheryl, Slow Boat to China, Chasin 'the Bird


Web links

Notes and individual references

  1. The title gave the legendary Ko-Ko-Session 1945, included on the Parker album The Charlie Parker Story
  2. Ross Russell reports in his Parker biography of strong tensions within the Parker band, which were responsible for the departure of Davis and Roach, cf. Russell, pp. 253 f.
  3. see Wilson / Goeman, p. 116 ff.
  4. cf. Brian Priestley, p. 492.
  5. In the original: absolutely essential . They awarded the Savoy album Newly Discovered Sides by Charlie Parker the second highest rating of *** (*) points, cf. after Cook / Morton, 1014
  6. a palpable sense of relaxation , cf. Cook / Morton, p. 1014.
  7. Cook and Morton point out that Parker appeared again at the Royal Roost in May 1950 , this time with the trumpeter Fats Navarro ( Street Beat ).