Bird in Time 1940-1947

Bird in Time 1940-1947

by Charlie ParkerCharlie Parker


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The history of Charlie Parker is well documented, so much so that most devotees of Bird's pioneering legacy undoubtedly have more than enough recordings to tell the tale. What they might not previously own is readily available in one package on this splendid four-CD set, containing a 100-track chronological musical and verbal account of Parker from 1940 to 1947. It encompasses items such as two whopping, finely detailed 32-page booklets, an early rare demo and interview with the saxophonist about his family and life as a teenager, and recordings with Jay McShann, Hazel Scott, Cootie Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Coleman, and Barry Ulanov's Metronome All Stars. The sound quality is good overall, though some of the early interview segments are paper thin, and a few of the songs have dropouts. Generally the studio or radio transcriptions are very good, and have held up through digital transfer. Interviews with Max Roach and Teddy Edwards are particularly illuminating and clearly recorded. The interviews with Roy Porter are just as interesting, but sound scratchy and not as clean. Over this eight-year period, Parker became the singularly unique star of bop, and fell hard as a heroin addicted junkie, committed to the Camarillo rehabilitation center in California for six months in 1946. Prior to that, he was well on his way to stardom, and the 1940 sessions with McShann's band prove the point. These are the most valuable dates in that they showcase the alto and tenor saxophonist as a premier soloist and lead melody constructor. A well done cover of "Moten Swing," the jumpin' "Oh, Lady Be Good" with Bird on tenor, and the self-proclaimed "louder and funnier" "Wichita Blues" give sway to the emergence of Parker, the latter piece featuring trombonist and violinist Bob Gould. More McShann from radio broadcasts lay out further evidence, at times with Al Hibbler or Walter Brown singing, but "Swingmatism" expresses the emerging modern, tricky, multi-faceted approach. Tracks with guitarist Efferge Ware, trumpeter Billy Eckstine, pianist Hazel Scott, and vocalist Rubberlegs Williams suffer a bit from sound, but are all rare and precious sessions. Recordings with the Cootie Williams Orchestra from 1945 represent a high-water mark, ranging from the raucous, hard swinging Mary Lou Williams evergreen "711/Roll 'Em," a plus take of "Perdido," Williams originals like the swing jam "Night Cap," and sly, bluesy "Saturday Night." Several tracks with Gillespie and the Rebop Six include classics like the furious "Shaw 'Nuff," the inimitable "Groovin' High," and "Dizzy Atmosphere," including vibist Milt Jackson. These recordings, and following tracks were taken from the legendary Jubilee revue programs, hosted by the irascible Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman. There's an admirable session with poll winners Benny Carter, Willie Smith, and Parker all taking a featured tune. But by the time Parker was signed to Dial records in 1946, you could clearly hear the deterioration in his playing. His second series of recordings for Dial with trumpeter Howard McGhee is, in the words of the booklet annotator, "falling apart," even though you hear a rare take of the fine Oscar Pettiford bop tune "Max Is Makin' Wax" (aka "Chance It"), and the obscure Parker blues "The Gypsy." Unfinished material and solos (Parker was also doing benzedrine), and the great material of classy crooner Coleman, especially "This Is Always," follow the post-Camarillo tracks where Bird sounds disinterested, and Dean Benedetti's well known "Hi-De-Ho" recordings with an inspired McGhee gave Parker somewhat of a boost. Parker had gained considerable weight in the hospital, McGhee was taking care of him, and it seemed that Bird's run might be done. Fortunately the Ulanov sessions marked a triumphant return, as Bird was paired again with Gillespie and Roach, clarinetist John LaPorta, pianist Lennie Tristano, bassist Ray Brown, and guitarist Billy Bauer. These Mutual Broadcasting System Bands for Bonds radio broadcasts from September 13 and 20 of 1947, proved Parker a capable team player, as well as a still impressive soloist. Included is the fiery "Hot House," a wild intro before calming to "On the Sunny Side of the Street," and a Dixieland jam plus bop styled take of "Tiger Rag" gone livid and crazy. After having won a poll of listeners, the band made a return appearance on November 8, with trumpeter Fats Navarro, bassist Tommy Potter, and tenor saxophonist Allen Eager replacing Diz, Brown, and Bauer. Parker is clearly feeling more confident, leading out on the fleet "Donna Lee" as the others lag behind. Bird in Time is an essential item for collectors of Parker's music, and though many of the recordings are available elsewhere, the salient interviews are not. As a complete package it further illustrates, musically and otherwise, what the saxophonist individually expressed and endured at a time when he was the main progenitor and flag waver of the bop revolution.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/11/2008
Label: Esp Disk Ltd.
UPC: 0825481040501
catalogNumber: 4050
Rank: 100186


Disc 1

  1. Charlie Parker Interview
  2. Honeysuckle Rose/Body and Soul
  3. I Got Rhythm
  4. I Found a New Baby
  5. Body and Soul
  6. Moten Swing
  7. Coquette
  8. Oh Lady Be Good
  9. Wichita Blues
  10. Honeysuckle Rose
  11. Max Roach Interview
  12. Cherokee
  13. St. Louis Mood
  14. I Got It Bad
  15. I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
  16. Hootie Blues
  17. Swingmatism
  18. Theme: Love Don't Get You Nothin'
  19. Cherokee
  20. My Heart Tells Me
  21. I Found a New Baby
  22. Body and Soul #2

Disc 2

  1. Sweet Georgia Brown
  2. I Got Rhythm
  3. Max Roach Interview
  4. Boogie Woogie
  5. Shoe Shine Swing
  6. Body and Soul #3
  7. Embraceable You
  8. Charlie Parker Interview
  9. That's the Blues
  10. Charlie Parker Interview
  11. Dream of You
  12. 7th Avenue
  13. Charlie Parker Speaks
  14. Charlie Parker Speaks
  15. Mop Mop (Excerpt)
  16. Theme: Round Midnight
  17. 711 (Roll 'Em)
  18. Cootie Williams Speaks
  19. Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me
  20. Don't Blame Me
  21. Perdido
  22. Night Cap
  23. Saturday Night
  24. MC Announcement
  25. Floogie Boo
  26. MC Announcement
  27. St. Louis Blues
  28. Max Roach Speaks
  29. Sweet Georgia Brown #2
  30. Lover, Come Back to Me

Disc 3

  1. Teddy Edwards Speaks
  2. Intro
  3. Shaw 'Nuff
  4. MC Announcement
  5. Groovin' High
  6. MC Announcement
  7. Dizzy Atmosphere
  8. Milt Jackson Speaks
  9. Salt Peanuts
  10. Diggin' Diz
  11. Roy Porter Speaks
  12. Teddy Edwards Speaks
  13. Howard McGhee Discusses His History
  14. Jam Session
  15. Tea for Two
  16. Body and Soul
  17. Cherokee
  18. Teddy Edward Speaks
  19. Roy Porter Speaks
  20. Roy Porter Speaks
  21. Lover Man
  22. Max Is Makin' Wax (Aka Chance It)
  23. The Gypsy
  24. Bebop
  25. Roy Porter Speaks
  26. Teddy Edwards Speaks
  27. Howard McGhee Remembers Charlie Parker
  28. Lullaby in Rhythm, Pt. 1
  29. Lullaby in Rhythm, Pt. 2
  30. Lullaby in Rhythm
  31. Cherokee
  32. I Got Rhythm

Disc 4

  1. Earl Coleman Speaks
  2. This Is Always
  3. Dark Shadows
  4. Earl Coleman Speaks
  5. Roy Porter Speaks
  6. Dee Dee's Dance
  7. Roy Porter Speaks
  8. Earl Coleman Speaks
  9. Milt Jackson Speaks
  10. Introduction/Ko Ko
  11. Hot House
  12. Fine and Dandy
  13. Introduction to Koko
  14. On the Sunny Side of the Street
  15. How Deep Is the Ocean
  16. Tiger Rag
  17. Theme: 52nd Street Theme
  18. Intro: 52nd Street Theme
  19. Donna Lee
  20. Theme: Koko
  21. Roy Porter Speaks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charlie Parker   Primary Artist,Saxophone
Hibbler   Vocals
Erroll Garner   Piano
Dizzy Gillespie   Trumpet
Benny Goodman   Clarinet
Milt Jackson   Vibes
Jay McShann   Piano
Hazel Scott   Piano
Walter Brown   Vocals
Efferge Ware   Guitar

Technical Credits

Paul James   Composer
George Gershwin   Composer
Sigmund Romberg   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Count Basie   Composer
Tadd Dameron   Composer
Dizzy Gillespie   Composer
Jimmie Lunceford   Composer
Jay McShann   Composer
Bennie Moten   Composer
Oscar Pettiford   Composer
Fats Waller   Composer
Cootie Williams   Composer
Ray Noble   Composer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Vincent Youmans   Composer
Howard McGhee   Author
Coleman Hawkins   Composer
Mary Lou Williams   Composer
Andy Razaf   Composer
Ben Bernie   Composer
Denzil Best   Composer
Irving Caesar   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Mack Gordon   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Thelonious Monk   Composer
Charlie Parker   Composer
Roy Porter   Author
Billy Reid   Composer
Juan Tizol   Composer
Harry Warren   Composer
Paul Francis Webster   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
Bernie Hanighen   Composer
Barry Ulanov   Author
Carmen Lombardo   Composer
Kay Swift   Composer
Maceo Pinkard   Composer
Kenneth Casey   Composer
Irene Higginbotham   Composer
Jason Weiss   Archival Materials
John Kellette   Composer
J. Rosamond Johnson   Composer
James Sherman   Composer
Michael D. Anderson   Audio Production

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Bird in Time 1940-1947 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago