Saturday, June 25, 2016

Charlie Parker - The Dial Masters (Original Choice Takes)

Once you’ve heard it you would know it anywhere. The sound of Charlie Parker’s alto saxophone is unmistakable, like the sound of Louis Armstrong’s trumpet or John Coltrane’s tenor. It is not a comfortable sound and has none of the elegance of Benny Carter or the sensousness of Johnny Hodges. Parker’s tone was his musical voice, and he spoke with a distinct regional accent, the accent of his birthplace, Kansas City. This stands at the northern apex of the great blues-country triangle whose southern corners lie in Texas to the west and Georgia to the east. To all black musicians brought up here, and some white ones too, the blues was a native idiom, and this is where Bird’s heavy, full, thoroughly immodest tone had its origins. The impolite term for it is ’funky’. Along with the tone, indeed an essential part of it, comes the curious, thick-tongued articulation, rather like a lisp. In the early planning stages for the 1988 film Bird, musical director Lennie Niehaus had to decide whether to use original Parker recordings or to employ another alto player to play transcribed solos. There were plenty who could manage the notes faultlessly, he said, but none who could get anywhere near that fruity articulation. Imagine yourself back in February 1946, when the first of these 36 tracks was recorded. Unless you were among the tiny band of the most avant garde hipsters, nothing in your previous musical experience would have prepared you for the wild, seemingly illogical jumble that met your ears. Now, getting on for half a century later, that first shock may have passed, but there is still nothing in the least bit cosy about the whole style of music pioneered by Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and others, which went under the name of bebop.
Of all the changes bebop brought about, one of the most significant was the break with dancing, hitherto a primary function of jazz. Tempos in bebop tended to be either too fast or too slow for dancing, and the beat itself was light, carried only by the bass and the top cymbal. This, remember was before the days of bass amplification, when in conventional jazz it was usual to have the beat stated by the bass, bass drum, guitar and the pianist’s left hand, so that it could be felt by the dancers.
But the thing which would have disconcerted the 1946 listener more than anything was the curiously sour effect of the harmonies, and the melodic lines full of jerky stops and starts and wild, scurrying runs. The harmonies sounded sour because they contained far more dissonances than any previous form of jazz, and the chords changed more often, which partly accounted for the convoluted lines.
On the other hand, the beboppers made no attempt whatever to change the structural basis for improvisation established by Armstrong and Hines in the late 1920s, namely the 32-bar American song and the 12-bar blues.
Something like bebop would have happened anyway, with or without Charlie Parker, but he was such a consummate master of the idiom, with such an overwhelming musical personality, that he dictated the terms. The bebop revolution is now half a century in the past, but Parker’s playing retains its power to grip and excite, through an extraordinary combination of passion, virtuosity and intellectual grasp.
Parker recorded eight sessions for Dial Records. The chaotic and sometimes farcical conditions under which they were held have been described vividly by Ross Russell in his book Bird Lives and also in the notes to the Spotlite four CD set Charlie Parker On Dial : The Complete Sessions (SPJ CD101-4). That edition contains everything recorded at those sessions, including unissued takes, false starts etc. What we have here are the choice takes originally selected for release on Dial, many of them numbered among great classic recordings of jazz.
Dave Gelly (from the booklet)

Charlie Parker
The Dial Masters
Original Choice Takes


Cd. 1

West Coast

1 Diggin' Diz (Gillespie)  2:55
2 Moose the Moche (Parker)  3:05
3 Yardbird Suite (Parker)  2:57
4 Ornithology (Parker, Harris)  3:02
5 Night in Tunisia (Gillespie, Paparelli)  3:05
6 Mas Making Wax (Parker)  2:33
7 Loverman (Davis, Ramirez, Sherman)  3:23
8 The Gypsy (Reid)  3:05
9 Bebop (Gillespie)  2:57
10 This is Always (Coleman)  3:16
11 Dark Shadows (Coleman)  3:09
12 Bird's nest (Parker)  2:45
13 Hot Blues (Parker)  2:01
14 Cool Blues (Parker)  3:11
15 Relaxing at Camarillo Parker)  3:09
16 Cheers (McGhee)  3:07
17 Carvin' the Bird (McGhee)  2:47
18 Stupendous (McGhee)  2:53


Cd. 2

East Coast

1 Dexterity (Parker)  2:59
2 Bongo Bop (Parker)  2:47
3 Dewey Square (Parker)  3:11
4 The Hymn (Parker)  2:35
5 Bird of Paradise (Parker)  3:14
6 Embraceable You (Gershwin)  3:26
7 Bird Feathers (Parker)  2:54
8 Klact-oveeseds-tene (Parker)  3:08
9 Scrapple from the Apple (Parker)  3:00
10 My Old Flame (Johnson, Coslow)  3:17
11 Out of Nowhere (Green, Hayman)  3:09
12 Don't Blame Me (McHugh, Fields)  2:50
13 Drifting on a Reed (Parker)  2:59
14 Quasimado (Parker)  2:55
15 Charlie's Wig (Parker)  2:45
16 Bongo Beep (Parker)  3:00
17 Crazeology (Harris)  3:00
18 How Deep is the Ocean (Berlin)  3:23


[Cd. 1, # 1] Dizzy Gillespie Jazzmen
Dizzy Gillespie - tp
Charlie Parker - as
Lucky Thompson - ts
George Handy - p
Arvin Garrison - g
Ray Brown - b
Stan Levey - dr
Recorded at Electro Broadcast Studios, Hollywood ; February 5, 1946
[Cd. 1, # 2-5] Charlie Parker Septet
Miles Davis - tp
Charlie Parker - as
Lucky Thompson - ts
Dodo Marmarosa - p
Arvin Garrison - g
Vic McMillan - b
Roy Porter - dr
Recorded at C. P. MacGregor Studios, Hollywood ; March 28, 1946
[Cd. 1, # 6-9] Charlie Parker Quintet
Howard McGhee - tp
Charlie Parker - as
Jimmy Bunn - p
Bob Kesterson - b
Roy Porter - dr
Recorded same place as above ; July 29, 1946
[Cd. 1, # 10-14] Charlie Parker Quartet
Charlie Parker - as
Erroll Garner - p
George "Red" Callender - b
Harold "Doc" Wst - dr
Earl Coleman - vcl
Recorded same place as above ; February 19, 1947
[Cd. 1, # 15-18] Charlie Parker All Stars
Howard McGhee - tp
Charlie Parker - as
Wardell Gray - ts
Dodo Marmarosa - p
Barney Kessel - g
George "Red" Callender - b
Don Lamond - dr
Recorded same place as above ; February 26, 1947
[Cd. 2, # 1-6] Charlie Parker Quintet
Miles Davis - tp
Charlie Parker - as
Duke Jordan - p
Tommy Potter - b
Max Roach - dr
Recorded at WOR Studios, Broadway/38th., New York City ; October 28, 1947
[Cd. 2, # 7-12] Charlie Parker Quintet
Same as above
Recorded same place as above ; November 4, 1947
[Cd. 2, # 13-18] Charlie Parker Sextet
Same as above, except
J. J. Johnson - tb, is added
Recorded same place as above ; December 17, 1947


Melanchthon said...

Anonymous said...

Never enough Bird, thank you MM!

Otis Foster said...

Fills in 2-3 missing tracks. Thnx melanchthon

francisco santos said...


deGallo said...

Thank you.

Daver88 said...

Many Thanks

Ананасий Непитин said...

great, great, as always great.
thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

This music has to be described as "ever green", and so I say thanks for this gem, very much appreciated!

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thanks a lot Mel

AmyBRAINS said...

Thanks a lot, Melanchthon.

Pee said...

Thanks, Mel. A great collection!

Mikel Hal said...

Muchas Gracias Melanchthon