Parker at Three Deuces, New York in 1947
|Birth name||Charles Parker Jr.|
|Also known as||Bird, Yardbird|
|Born||August 29, 1920|
Kansas City, Kansas, U.S
|Origin||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Died||March 12, 1955 34) (aged|
Manhattan, New York
|Instruments||Alto and tenor saxophone|
Charles Parker Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop,a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, and he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber. Parker acquired the nickname "Yardbird" early in his career on the road with Jay McShann. This, and the shortened form "Bird", continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology", "Bird Gets the Worm", and "Bird of Paradise". Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual rather than just an entertainer.
Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early to mid-1940s in the United States, which features songs characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody.
"Yardbird Suite" is a bebop standard composed by jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker in 1946. The title derives from Parker's nickname "Bird", respectively "Yardbird". Far from being a suite, the song follows an AABA form. The "graceful, hip melody, became something of an anthem for beboppers."
"Ornithology" is a jazz standard by bebop alto saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Benny Harris.
Charles Parker Jr. was born in Kansas City, Kansas at 852 Freeman Avenue, and raised in Kansas City, Missouri near Westport and later – in high school – near 15th and Olive Street. He was the only child of Charles Parker and Adelaide "Addie" Bailey, who was of mixed Choctaw and African American background.He attended Lincoln High School in September 1934, but withdrew in December 1935, just before joining the local musicians' union and to pursue his musical career full-time. His childhood sweetheart and future wife, Rebecca Ruffin, graduated from Lincoln High School in June 1935.
Kansas City is the third-largest city in the State of Kansas, the county seat of Wyandotte County, and the third-largest city of the Kansas City metropolitan area. Kansas City, Kansas is abbreviated as "KCK" to differentiate it from Kansas City, Missouri, after which it is named. It is part of a consolidated city-county government known as the "Unified Government". Wyandotte County also includes the independent cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 145,786 residents. It is situated at Kaw Point, which is the junction of the Missouri and Kansas rivers.
Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 488,943 in 2017, making it the 37th most-populous city in the United States. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri state line. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion between the two ensued and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon after.
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States. Their Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean language family group. Hopewell and Mississippian cultures, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. About 1,700 years ago, the Hopewell people built Nanih Waiya, a great earthwork mound located in what is central present-day Mississippi. It is still considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers of the mid-16th century in the Southeast encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs. The anthropologist John R. Swanton suggested that the Choctaw derived their name from an early leader. Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak.
Parker began playing the saxophone at age 11, and at age 14 he joined his high school band where he studied under Bandmaster Alonzo Lewis. His mother purchased a new alto saxophone around the same time. His father, Charles Sr., was often required to travel for work, but provided some musical influence because he was a pianist, dancer and singer on the T.O.B.A. circuit. He later became a Pullman waiter or chef on the railways. Parker's mother Addie worked nights at the local Western Union office.His biggest influence at that time was a young trombone player named Robert Simpson, who taught him the basics of improvisation.
The Pullman Car Company, founded by George Pullman, manufactured railroad cars in the mid-to-late 19th century through the first half of the 20th century, during the boom of railroads in the United States. Through rapid late nineteenth century development of mass production, and takeover of rivals, the company developed a virtual monopoly on production and ownership of sleeper cars. At its peak in the early 20th century, its cars accommodated 26 million people a year, and it in effect operated "the largest hotel in the world". Its production workers initially lived in a planned worker community named Pullman, Chicago. Pullman developed the sleeping car, which carried his name into the 1980s. Pullman did not just manufacture the cars, it also operated them on most of the railroads in the United States, paying railroad companies to couple the cars to trains. The labor union associated with the company, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, founded and organized by A. Philip Randolph, was one of the most powerful African-American political entities of the 20th century. The company also built thousands of streetcars and trolley buses for use in cities. Post World War II changes in automobile and airplane transport led to a steep decline in the company's fortunes. It folded in 1968.
The Western Union Company is an American financial services and communications company. Its headquarters is in Meridian, Colorado, although the postal designation of nearby Englewood is used in its mailing address. Up until it discontinued the service in 2006, Western Union was the best-known U.S. company in the business of exchanging telegrams.
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. As on all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player's vibrating lips (embouchure) cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate. Nearly all trombones have a telescoping slide mechanism that varies the length of the instrument to change the pitch. Many modern trombone models also use a valve attachment to lower the pitch of the instrument. Variants such as the valve trombone and superbone have three valves similar to those on the trumpet.
In the mid-1930s, Parker began to practice diligently. During this period he mastered improvisation and developed some of the ideas that led to the later development of Bebop. In an interview with Paul Desmond, he said that he spent three to four years practicing up to 15 hours a day.
Paul Desmond was an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer, best known for his work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and for composing that group's biggest hit, "Take Five". He was one of the most popular musicians to come out of the cool jazz scene.
Bands led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten certainly influenced Parker. He played with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, Missouri, where he perfected his technique, with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time influenced Parker's developing style.
William James "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer.
Benjamin "Bennie" Moten was an American jazz pianist and band leader born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.
Henry Franklin "Buster" Smith, also known as Professor Smith, was an American jazz alto saxophonist and mentor to Charlie Parker. Smith was instrumental in instituting the Texas Sax Sound with Count Basie and Lester Young in the 1930s.
In late spring 1936, Parker played at a jam session at the Reno Club in Kansas City. His attempt to improvise failed when he lost track of the chord changes. This prompted Jo Jones, the drummer for Count Basie's Orchestra, to contemptuously throw a cymbal at his feet as a signal to leave the stage.However, rather than discouraging Parker, the incident caused him to vow to practice harder, and turned out to be a seminal moment in the young musician's career when he returned as a new man a year later. Parker proposed to his wife, Rebecca Ruffin, the same year and the two were married on July 25, 1936. In the fall of 1936, Parker traveled with a band from Kansas City to the Ozarks for the opening of Clarence Musser's Tavern south of Eldon, Missouri. Along the way, the caravan of musicians had a car accident and Parker broke three ribs and fractured his spine. The accident led to Parker's ultimate troubles with pain killers and opioids, especially heroin. Parker struggled with drug use for the rest of his life.
Despite his near death experience on the way to the Ozarks in 1936, Parker returned to the area in 1937 where he spent some serious time woodshedding and developing his sound.In 1938 Parker joined pianist Jay McShann's territory band. The band toured nightclubs and other venues of the southwest, as well as Chicago and New York City. Parker made his professional recording debut with McShann's band.
In 1939 Parker moved to New York City, to pursue a career in music. He held several other jobs as well. He worked for nine dollars a week as a dishwasher at Jimmie's Chicken Shack, where pianist Art Tatum performed.It was in 1939 in New York that Parker had his musical breakthrough that had begun in 1937 in the Missouri Ozarks. Playing through the changes on Cherokee, Parker discovered a new musical vocabulary and sound that forever shifted the course of music history.
In 1940, he returned to Kansas City to perform with Jay McShann and to attend the funeral of his father, Charles, Sr. He played Fairyland Park in the summer with McShann's band at 75th and Prospect for all-white audiences. The up-side of the summer was his introduction to Dizzy Gillespie by Step Buddy Anderson near 19th and Vine in the summer of 1940.After the summer season at Fairyland, Parker left with McShann's band for gigs in the region. On a trip to Omaha he earned his nickname from McShann and the band after an incident with a chicken and the tour bus.
In 1942 Parker left McShann's band and played for one year with Earl Hines, whose band included Dizzy Gillespie, who later played with Parker as a duo. This period is virtually undocumented, due to the strike of 1942–1943 by the American Federation of Musicians, during which time few professional recordings were made. Parker joined a group of young musicians, and played in after-hours clubs in Harlem, such as Clark Monroe's Uptown House. These young iconoclasts included Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk, guitarist Charlie Christian, and drummer Kenny Clarke. The beboppers' attitude was summed up in a famous quotation attributed to Monk by Mary Lou Williams: "We wanted a music that they couldn't play".
According to an interview Parker gave in the 1950s, one night in 1939 he was playing "Cherokee" in a jam session with guitarist William "Biddy" Fleet when he hit upon a method for developing his solos that enabled one of his main musical innovations. He realized that the 12 semitones of the chromatic scale can lead melodically to any key, breaking some of the confines of simpler jazz soloing.
Early in its development, this new type of jazz was rejected by many of the established, traditional jazz musicians who disdained their younger counterparts. The beboppers responded by calling these traditionalists "moldy figs". However, some musicians, such as Coleman Hawkins and Tatum, were more positive about its development, and participated in jam sessions and recording dates in the new approach with its adherents.
Because of the two-year Musicians' Union ban of all commercial recordings from 1942 to 1944, much of bebop's early development was not captured for posterity. As a result, it gained limited radio exposure. Bebop musicians had a difficult time gaining widespread recognition. It was not until 1945, when the recording ban was lifted, that Parker's collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell and others had a substantial effect on the jazz world. (One of their first small-group performances together was rediscovered and issued in 2005: a concert in New York's Town Hall on June 22, 1945.) Bebop soon gained wider appeal among musicians and fans alike.
On November 26, 1945, Parker led a record date for the Savoy label, marketed as the "greatest Jazz session ever." Recording as Charlie Parker's Reboppers, Parker enlisted such sidemen as Gillespie and Miles Davis on trumpet, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums. The tracks recorded during this session include "Ko-Ko", "Billie's Bounce" and "Now's the Time".
In 1952 Parker and Gillespie released an album entitled "Bird and Diz".Shortly afterward, the Parker/Gillespie band traveled to an unsuccessful engagement at Billy Berg's club in Los Angeles. Most of the group returned to New York, but Parker remained in California, cashing in his return ticket to buy heroin. He experienced great hardship in California, eventually being committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital for a six-month period.
A longstanding desire of Parker's was to perform with a string section. He was a keen student of classical music, and contemporaries reported he was most interested in the music and formal innovations of Igor Stravinsky and longed to engage in a project akin to what later became known as Third Stream, a new kind of music, incorporating both jazz and classical elements as opposed to merely incorporating a string section into performance of jazz standards. On November 30, 1949, Norman Granz arranged for Parker to record an album of ballads with a mixed group of jazz and chamber orchestra musicians.Six master takes from this session became the album Charlie Parker with Strings : "Just Friends", "Everything Happens to Me", "April in Paris", "Summertime", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", and "If I Should Lose You".
In 1953, Parker performed at Massey Hall in Toronto, joined by Gillespie, Mingus, Powell and Roach.Unfortunately, the concert happened at the same time as a televised heavyweight boxing match between Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott, so the musical event was poorly attended. Mingus recorded the concert, resulting in the album Jazz at Massey Hall . At this concert, Parker played a plastic Grafton saxophone.
Parker's life was riddled with mental health problems and heroin addiction.This addiction caused him to miss performances and be considered unreliable. Heroin use was rampant in the jazz scene, and users could normally acquire it with little difficulty.
Although he produced many brilliant recordings during this period, Parker's behavior became increasingly erratic. Heroin was difficult to obtain once he moved to California, where the drug was less abundant, so he used alcohol as a substitute. A recording for the Dial label from July 29, 1946, provides evidence of his condition. Before this session, Parker drank a quart of whiskey. According to the liner notes of Charlie Parker on Dial Volume 1 , Parker missed most of the first two bars of his first chorus on the track, "Max Making Wax". When he finally did come in, he swayed wildly and once spun all the way around, away from his microphone. On the next tune, "Lover Man", producer Ross Russell physically supported Parker. On "Bebop" (the final track Parker recorded that evening) he begins a solo with a solid first eight bars; on his second eight bars, however, he begins to struggle, and a desperate Howard McGhee, the trumpeter on this session, shouts, "Blow!" at him. Charles Mingus considered this version of "Lover Man" to be among Parker's greatest recordings, despite its flaws.Nevertheless, Parker hated the recording and never forgave Ross Russell for releasing it. He re-recorded the tune in 1951 for Verve.
Parker's life took a turn for the worse in March of 1954 when his 3-year-old daughter Pree died.He attempted suicide twice in 1954, which landed him in a mental hospital.
When Parker received his discharge from the hospital, he was clean and healthy. Before leaving California, he recorded "Relaxin' at Camarillo" in reference to his hospital stay. He returned to New York, resumed his addiction to heroin and recorded dozens of sides for the Savoy and Dial labels, which remain some of the high points of his recorded output. Many of these were with his so-called "classic quintet" including Davis and Roach.
Parker died on March 12, 1955, in the suite of his friend and patroness Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City, while watching The Dorsey Brothers' Stage Show on television. The official causes of death were lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer, but Parker also had an advanced case of cirrhosis and had suffered a heart attack. The coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker's 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.
Since 1950, Parker had been living with Chan Berg, the mother of his son Baird (who lived until 2014)and his daughter Pree (who died at age 3). He considered Chan his wife although he never married her, nor did he divorce his previous wife, Doris, whom he had married in 1948. His marital status complicated the settling of Parker's estate and would ultimately serve to frustrate his wish to be quietly interred in New York City.
Dizzy Gillespie paid for the funeral arrangementsand organized a lying-in-state, a Harlem procession officiated by Congressman and Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., as well as a memorial concert. Parker's body was flown back to Missouri, in accordance with his mother's wishes. Berg criticized Doris and Parker's family for giving him a Christian funeral, even though they knew he was a confirmed atheist. Parker was buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Missouri, in a hamlet known as Blue Summit, located close to I-435 and East Truman Road.
Parker's estate is managed by Jampol Artist Management.
Parker's style of composition involved interpolation of original melodies over existing jazz forms and standards, a practice known as contrafact and still common in jazz today. Examples include "Ornithology" (which borrows the chord progression of jazz standard "How High the Moon" and is said to be co-written with trumpet player Little Benny Harris), and "Moose The Mooche" (one of many Parker compositions based on the chord progression of "I Got Rhythm"). The practice was not uncommon prior to bebop, but it became a signature of the movement as artists began to move away from arranging popular standards and toward composing their own material.
While tunes such as "Now's The Time", "Billie's Bounce", "Au Privave", "Barbados", "Relaxin' at Camarillo", "Bloomdido", and "Cool Blues" were based on conventional 12-bar blues changes, Parker also created a unique version of the 12-bar blues for tunes such as "Blues for Alice", "Laird Baird", and "Si Si." These unique chords are known popularly as "Bird Changes". Like his solos, some of his compositions are characterized by long, complex melodic lines and a minimum of repetition although he did employ the use of repetition in some tunes, most notably "Now's The Time".
Parker contributed greatly to the modern jazz solo, one in which triplets and pick-up notes were used in unorthodox ways to lead into chord tones, affording the soloist with more freedom to use passing tones, which soloists previously avoided. Parker was admired for his unique style of phrasing and innovative use of rhythm. Via his recordings and the popularity of the posthumously published Charlie Parker Omnibook , Parker's identifiable style dominated jazz for many years to come.
Other well-known Parker compositions include "Ah-Leu-Cha", "Anthropology", co-written with Gillespie, "Confirmation", "Constellation", "Donna Lee", "Moose the Mooche", "Scrapple from the Apple" and "Yardbird Suite", the vocal version of which is called "What Price Love", with lyrics by Parker.
Miles Davis once said, "You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker".
|Charlie Parker Grammy Award history|
|1974||Best Performance by a Soloist||First Recordings!||Jazz||Onyx||Winner|
Grammy Hall of Fame
Recordings of Charlie Parker were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance."
|Charlie Parker: Grammy Hall of Fame Awards|
|Year recorded||Title||Genre||Label||Year inducted|
|1945||"Billie's Bounce"||Jazz (Single)||Savoy||2002|
|1953||Jazz at Massey Hall||Jazz (Album)||Debut||1995|
|1950||Charlie Parker with Strings||Jazz (Album)||Mercury||1988|
|2004||Jazz at Lincoln Center: Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame|
|1984||Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award|
|1979||Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame|
In 1995, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 32-cent commemorative postage stamp in Parker's honor.
In 2002, the Library of Congress honored his recording "Ko-Ko" (1945) by adding it to the National Recording Registry.
Charlie Parker Residence
151 Avenue B in 2011
|Location||151 Avenue B|
Manhattan, New York City
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival|
|NRHP reference #||94000262|
|Added to NRHP||April 7, 1994|
|Designated NRHP||April 7, 1994|
|Designated NYCL||May 18, 1999|
From 1950 to 1954, Parker and his common-law wife, Chan Berg, lived on the ground floor of the townhouse at 151 Avenue B, across from Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan's East Village. The Gothic Revival building, which was built about 1849,was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and was designated a New York City landmark in 1999. Avenue B between East 7th and East 10th Streets was given the honorary designation "Charlie Parker Place" in 1992.
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer.
Cool jazz is a style of modern jazz music that arose in the United States after World War II. It is characterized by relaxed tempos and lighter tone, in contrast to the fast and complex bebop style. Cool jazz often employs formal arrangements and incorporates elements of classical music. Broadly, the genre refers to a number of post-war jazz styles employing a more subdued approach than that found in other contemporaneous jazz idioms. As Paul Tanner, Maurice Gerow, and David Megill suggest "the tonal sonorities of these conservative players could be compared to pastel colors, while the solos of [Dizzy] Gillespie and his followers could be compared to fiery red colors."
James Columbus "Jay" McShann was a jazz pianist and bandleader. He led bands in Kansas City, Missouri, that included Charlie Parker, Bernard Anderson, Ben Webster, and Walter Brown.
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of jazz piano and, according to one major source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".
Minton's Playhouse is a jazz club and bar located on the first floor of the Cecil Hotel at 210 West 118th Street in Harlem and is a registered trademark of Housing and Services, Inc. a New York City nonprofit provider of supportive housing. The door to the actual club itself is at 206 West 118th Street where there is a small plaque. Minton's was founded by tenor saxophonist Henry Minton in 1938. Minton's is famous for its role in the development of modern jazz, also known as bebop, where in its jam sessions in the early 1940s, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, pioneered the new music. Minton's thrived for three decades until its decline near the end of the 1960s, and its eventual closing in 1974. After being shuttered for more than 30 years, the newly remodeled club reopened its doors on May 19, 2006, under the name Uptown Lounge at Minton's Playhouse. However, the reopened club was closed again in 2010. Remodeling began again in 2012.
"Donna Lee" is a bebop jazz standard attributed to Charlie Parker, although Miles Davis has also claimed authorship. Written in A-flat, it is based on the chord changes of the jazz standard "(Back Home Again in) Indiana". Beginning with an unusual half-bar rest, "Donna Lee" is a very complex, fast-moving chart with a compositional style based on four-note groups over each change.
Dillon "Curley" Russell was an American jazz musician who played bass on many bebop recordings.
Bird is a 1988 American biographical film, produced and directed by Clint Eastwood from a screenplay by Joel Oliansky. The film is a tribute to the life and music of jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker. It is constructed as a montage of scenes from Parker's life, from his childhood in Kansas City, through his early death at the age of 34.
Kansas City jazz is a style of jazz that developed in Kansas City, Missouri during the 1920s and 1930s, which marked the transition from the structured big band style to the musical improvisation style of Bebop. The hard-swinging, bluesy transition style is bracketed by Count Basie who in 1929 signed with the Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra and Kansas City native Charlie Parker who ushered in the Bebop style in America. "While New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz, America's music grew up in Kansas City". Kansas City is known as one of the most popular "cradles of jazz". Other cities include New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York City. Kansas City was known for the organized musicians of the Local 627 A.F.M., which controlled a number of venues in the city.
Frank Morgan was a jazz saxophonist with a career spanning more than 50 years. He mainly played alto saxophone but also played soprano saxophone. He was known as a Charlie Parker successor who primarily played bebop and ballads.
This is a list of Charlie Parker's recordings. Parker recorded extensively for three labels: Savoy, Dial, and Verve. His work with these labels has been chronicled in box sets. Charlie Parker's Savoy and Dial Sessions have been issued on The Complete Savoy Sessions, Charlie Parker on Dial and Complete Charlie Parker on Dial and The Complete Savoy & Dial Master Takes. His Verve recordings are available on Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve and The Complete Verve Master Takes.
"Moose the Mooche" is a bebop composition written by Charlie Parker in 1946. It was written shortly after his friend and longtime musical companion Dizzy Gillespie left him in Los Angeles to return to New York City. Parker had been a long time heroin addict and some historians suggest that the song was named after the drug dealer, Emry "Moose the Mooche" Byrd, who sold him drugs for several years before being arrested.
"Ko Ko" is a 1945 bebop recording composed by Charlie Parker. The original recorded version features Parker on alto saxophone with trumpeter Miles Davis, double bassist Curley Russell and drummer Max Roach. Due to the absence of Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie was enlisted to play piano, instead of his usual trumpet. Pianist Sadik Hakim, then known as Argonne Thornton, was also known to be present at the session. Rumors persist to this day about precisely who played trumpet and piano on this piece; some claim it's young Miles Davis who plays trumpet and Gillespie comping at piano, on both takes, proving it with accurate analysis of the recording; some claim Gillespie plays trumpet and, or instead of, piano; some claim Hakim is the pianist on all or part of one or both of the takes.
"Groovin' High" is an influential 1945 song by jazz composer and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. The song was a bebop mainstay that became a jazz standard, one of Gillespie's best known hits, and, according to Bebop: The Music and Its Players author Thomas Owens, "the first famous bebop recording". The song is a complex musical arrangement based on the chord structure of the 1920 standard originally recorded by Paul Whiteman, "Whispering", with lyrics by John Schonberger and Richard Coburn (né Frank Reginald DeLong; 1886–1952) and music by Vincent Rose. The biography Dizzy characterizes the song as "a pleasant medium-tempo tune" that "demonstrates...[Gillespie's] skill in fashioning interesting textures using only six instruments".
Bernard Hartwell "Step-Buddy" Anderson (1919–1997) was an American jazz trumpeter from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Having studied music at school under Zelia N. Breaux, Anderson was a professional musician by 1934, playing with the Ted Armstrong band in Clinton, Oklahoma. In the late 1930s he was a member of the Xavier University jazz band in New Orleans.
In the early 1940s in jazz, bebop emerged, led by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and others. It helped to shift jazz from danceable popular music towards a more challenging "musician's music." Differing greatly from swing, early bebop divorced itself from dance music, establishing itself more as an art form but lessening its potential popular and commercial value. Since bebop was meant to be listened to, not danced to, it used faster tempos. Beboppers introduced new forms of chromaticism and dissonance into jazz; the dissonant tritone interval became the "most important interval of bebop" and players engaged in a more abstracted form of chord-based improvisation which used "passing" chords, substitute chords, and altered chords. The style of drumming shifted as well to a more elusive and explosive style, in which the ride cymbal was used to keep time, while the snare and bass drum were used for accents. This appealed to a more specialized audiences than earlier forms of jazz, with sophisticated harmonies, fast tempos and often virtuoso musicianship. Bebop musicians often used 1930s standards, especially those from Broadway musicals, as part of their repertoire. Among standards written by bebop musicians are Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" (1941) and "A Night in Tunisia" (1942), Parker's "Anthropology" (1946), "Yardbird Suite" (1946) and "Scrapple from the Apple" (1947), and Monk's "'Round Midnight" (1944), which is currently the most recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician. An early 1940s style known as "jumping the blues" or jump blues used small combos, uptempo music, and blues chord progressions. Jump blues drew on boogie-woogie from the 1930s. Kansas City Jazz in the 1930s as exemplified by tenor saxophonist Lester Young marked the transition from big bands to the bebop influence of the 1940s. These divergences from the jazz mainstream of the time initially met with a divided, sometimes hostile response among fans and fellow musicians, especially established swing players, who bristled at the new harmonic sounds. To hostile critics, bebop seemed to be filled with "racing, nervous phrases". Despite the initial friction, by the 1950s bebop had become an accepted part of the jazz vocabulary. The most influential bebop musicians included saxophonist Charlie Parker, pianists Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Clifford Brown, and drummer Max Roach.
Swingmatism is a jazz standard, composed by William Scott, and featuring Charlie Parker. It was originally recorded on April 30 1941 with Gus Johnson, though the best known version dates to 1942. According to author Dave Oliphant it "illustrates how, with a good 'swing' rhythm section, one can play bebop and still have it fit." The tune, composed in F Minor, is noted for its "sixteen-bar sections in the minor and modulation to the parallel major, through the use of a diminished chord".
"Now's the Time" is a composition by Charlie Parker. He led the first recording of it, on November 26, 1945.
Charles Mingus once chose it when asked to name his favorite Parker recordings. 'I like all', he said, 'none more than the other, but I'd have to pick Lover Man for the feeling he had then and his ability to express that feeling.'
In the late 1940s, Charlie Parker’s classic quintet—including trumpeter Miles Davis, drummer Max Roach, bass player Tommy Potter, and pianist Bud Powell—produced a series of masterpieces that reached the top of the rating scales.
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