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Dan Gould

Charlie Parker Boston 1952

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So I've been sequentially pulling out discs from the binders that I haven't heard in a while and came to the Uptown release Boston 1952.  Not having the notes handy I use google and what do I find? Our very own Larry Kart's Trib review.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-12-15/news/9612150019_1_charlie-parker-captures-music

Excerpts:

Parker's virtousity was of a special sort--not just speed of execution but a rush of meaningful musical thought so torrential that at times it bordered on the frenetic. But now that image of Parker's music has been altered, quite unexpectedly, by a CD of never before released live performances, "Charlie Parker--Boston 1952" (Uptown).

The CD begins with seven tracks from a 1952 club date (the remaining four come from 1954), and on them the sheer connectedness of Parker's playing--the way every fleeting gesture flows into the next to form a dazzling, coherent whole--is at a level notably higher than any Parker had reached before.

Second, and perhaps more surprising, is the emotional tone of the music. Before this, Parker at his most inspired was Parker at his most driven, a man who played as though there were a hellhound on his trail. But on this afternoon in Boston, it seems that, for once, nothing stood between Parker and his quest to capture and express all aspects of every thought that crossed his mind. As a result, this music doesn't sound frenzied or tormented at all but almost paradisic--as though Parker had burst through to a realm where each need is met the instant he conceives of it.

How this could have happened at all is one question. (Perhaps, Parker was stimulated by the presence in his rhythm section of a gifted and very unusual young pianist, Dick Twardzik.) Another question is why this may have happened just once--for if it had happened earlier or later in Parker's career, it seems likely it would have been captured on one of his large number of studio and live recordings.

 

So does Larry hit the nail on the head? Is Boston the peak Bird, never heard before or after? Not tormented or frenzied? I've never thought of Bird as either so I am wondering what others think.

And I hope Larry A) doesn't mind my using his work and B) might be interesting if Larry still hears it the same way?

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I'll need to dig it out as I've not played it in a while. Thanks for posting this.

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As I re-read Larry's piece I realize that "hell hound on his tail" "frenzied or tormented" and "quest to capture and express all aspects of every thought that crossed his mind" bring to mind Trane, not Bird.  

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3 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

So I've been sequentially pulling out discs from the binders that I haven't heard in a while and came to the Uptown release Boston 1952.  Not having the notes handy I use google and what do I find? Our very own Larry Kart's Trib review.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-12-15/news/9612150019_1_charlie-parker-captures-music

Excerpts:

Parker's virtousity was of a special sort--not just speed of execution but a rush of meaningful musical thought so torrential that at times it bordered on the frenetic. But now that image of Parker's music has been altered, quite unexpectedly, by a CD of never before released live performances, "Charlie Parker--Boston 1952" (Uptown).

The CD begins with seven tracks from a 1952 club date (the remaining four come from 1954), and on them the sheer connectedness of Parker's playing--the way every fleeting gesture flows into the next to form a dazzling, coherent whole--is at a level notably higher than any Parker had reached before.

Second, and perhaps more surprising, is the emotional tone of the music. Before this, Parker at his most inspired was Parker at his most driven, a man who played as though there were a hellhound on his trail. But on this afternoon in Boston, it seems that, for once, nothing stood between Parker and his quest to capture and express all aspects of every thought that crossed his mind. As a result, this music doesn't sound frenzied or tormented at all but almost paradisic--as though Parker had burst through to a realm where each need is met the instant he conceives of it.

How this could have happened at all is one question. (Perhaps, Parker was stimulated by the presence in his rhythm section of a gifted and very unusual young pianist, Dick Twardzik.) Another question is why this may have happened just once--for if it had happened earlier or later in Parker's career, it seems likely it would have been captured on one of his large number of studio and live recordings.

 

So does Larry hit the nail on the head? Is Boston the peak Bird, never heard before or after? Not tormented or frenzied? I've never thought of Bird as either so I am wondering what others think.

And I hope Larry A) doesn't mind my using his work and B) might be interesting if Larry still hears it the same way?

The quartet side of the album below to me epitomizes the "hellhound on his trail" Parker. Hear this track for example: (p.s. I don't it's just a matter of tempo here, though it is way "up.")


 

513Yppi8wTL._SX425_.jpg

This track too:
 

 

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I know about a Bird in Boston recording featuring Dick Twardzik which was very much around in my youth, it was a Musidisc thing "The Happy Bird" and has 4 tracks, two of them with Dick Twardzik and Charles Mingus on bass among others, one track I remember is "April". The other tunes was a "Happy Bird Blues", a very fine "Scrapple from the Apple" and "Lullaby in Rhythm" mistitled "I may be wrong", both also featuring Wardell Gray in top form.

I also have that Electra Musician Bird in Washington with orchestra, but it has nothing to do with the Bird in Boston.

 

 

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Dropping in to add a quick footnote to the Boston date. The trumpet player with Bird here, Herbie Williams, eventually made his way to Detroit, where he made a living during the '60s as a Motown session cat. He led some sessions for Motown's jazz subsidiary Workshop that were supposed to yield an LP that in the end was never released. In later years he taught in schools in Detroit and was an important mentor for some musicians, particularly bassist Rodney Whitaker when he was in high school.

Edited by Mark Stryker

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59 minutes ago, Mark Stryker said:

Dropping in to add a quick footnote to the Boston date. The trumpet player with Bird here, Herbie Williams, eventually made his way to Detroit, where he made a living during the '60s as a Motown session cat. He led some sessions for Motown's jazz subsidiary Workshop that were supposed to yield an LP that in the end was never released. In later years he taught in schools in Detroit and was an important mentor for some musicians, particularly bassist Rodney Whitaker when he was in high school.

The performances I'm referring to above are the first six tracks on "Charlie Parker, Boston 1952" (Uptown) , with Joe Gordon on trumpet, Twardzik, Mingus, and Roy Haynes, rec. at the Hi-Hat 12/14/1952. Tracks 7-13 on that album are from the Hi-Hat 1/18/1954, with Herbie Williams, Rollins Griffith (pno.), Jimmy Woode (bs.), and Marquis Foster (dr.). Good stuff but IMO not close to the 12/14/1952 material. More from the Parker, Herbie Williams, Rollins Griffith etc. group at the Hi-Hat, from 12-18 & 20, 1953 and 1/24/1954,  is on "Bird at  the Hi-Hat" (Blue Note).

1 hour ago, Gheorghe said:

 

I also have that Electra Musician Bird in Washington with orchestra, but it has nothing to do with the Bird in Boston.

 

 

No one said it did. I was making a comparison, in terms of Parker's musical-emotional mood as I perceive it, between the fiercely intense Bird of the Washington quartet performances and the much more relaxed but no less creative Bird  of the first six tracks on "Charlie Parker, Boston 1952" (Uptown). 

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I don't know whether Bird's playing on this recording "is at a level notably higher than any Parker had reached before" - I'd have to do a lot more listening before I could make that statement. In the end, it doesn't matter. Bird sounds at ease, seemingly in a good frame of mind, and he plays beautifully here.

Thanks to Dan for starting this thread, and to Larry for his comments. You guys got me to listen to this music and to enjoy and appreciate it once again.

Edited by paul secor

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Bird's playing on this recording "is at a level notably higher than any Parker had reached before"?

Did I say that? I hope not because I don't believe it. It's superb Bird, but  there's lots of other superb Bird of various moods and kinds.

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7 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

Bird's playing on this recording "is at a level notably higher than any Parker had reached before"?

Did I say that? I hope not because I don't believe it. It's superb Bird, but  there's lots of other superb Bird of various moods and kinds.

I don't know if you said it. I was just quoting from a review of yours that Dan posted.

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6 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

The performances I'm referring to above are the first six tracks on "Charlie Parker, Boston 1952" (Uptown) , with Joe Gordon on trumpet, Twardzik, Mingus, and Roy Haynes, rec. at the Hi-Hat 12/14/1952. Tracks 7-13 on that album are from the Hi-Hat 1/18/1954, with Herbie Williams, Rollins Griffith (pno.), Jimmy Woode (bs.), and Marquis Foster (dr.). Good stuff but IMO not close to the 12/14/1952 material. More from the Parker, Herbie Williams, Rollins Griffith etc. group at the Hi-Hat, from 12-18 & 20, 1953 and 1/24/1954,  is on "Bird at  the Hi-Hat" (Blue Note).

 

Thanks for the clarification. Was going from memory and and forgot there where two different dates represented. 

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21 minutes ago, paul secor said:

I don't know if you said it. I was just quoting from a review of yours that Dan posted.

Geez -- I guess I did say/write it. Well, what I believe now is what I  said above.

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Is "I Remember April" on it ? Because it seems that LP "The Happy Bird" that I have from about the mid 70´s has 1 track with Twardzick and Mingus and I think a trumpet player with a thin sound playing only the theme. The other tracks are Bird with Wardell Gray , Roy Haynes, Teddy Kotick and Walter Bishop.

I remember the track "April" has a very beautiful and relaxed sounding Bird, and a very very underrecorded piano.

The record says "Boston 51" but as I said I have the impression the "April" track is from another date.

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11 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

Geez -- I guess I did say/write it. Well, what I believe now is what I  said above.

I can't remember a lot of things that I've said. Unfortunately, my wife remembers all of them.  :D

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The Open Door stuff is a lot like that too.

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12 hours ago, Gheorghe said:

Is "I Remember April" on it ? Because it seems that LP "The Happy Bird" that I have from about the mid 70´s has 1 track with Twardzick and Mingus and I think a trumpet player with a thin sound playing only the theme. The other tracks are Bird with Wardell Gray , Roy Haynes, Teddy Kotick and Walter Bishop.

I remember the track "April" has a very beautiful and relaxed sounding Bird, and a very very underrecorded piano.

The record says "Boston 51" but as I said I have the impression the "April" track is from another date.

I have "The Happy 'Bird'" from the Charlie Parker Records box.  4 tracks on the album; 3 are from 4/12/51, but I Remember April, with Twardzik, is indeed from December 1952.  It appears to be from the same gig that's on the Uptown disc, but interestingly does not appear on the Uptown disc!

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11 hours ago, mjzee said:

I have "The Happy 'Bird'" from the Charlie Parker Records box.  4 tracks on the album; 3 are from 4/12/51, but I Remember April, with Twardzik, is indeed from December 1952.  It appears to be from the same gig that's on the Uptown disc, but interestingly does not appear on the Uptown disc!

thank you. So this might be worth to purchase. I remember, that all we kids  were a bit confused by the track "April" , because on the album there was some wrong informations (something very usual during that time) . We had thought it´s the same date and Bird might have asked Mingus to sit in. I must admit we all were mostly interested in Mingus, who indeed does fantastic things on that track. Bird an Mingus. We had heard a trumped on the theme, but he sounded weak.

Might be interesting also to hear Bird as late as 1954. The few things that remain from that unhappy year for Bird, "Bird plays Cole Porter" sounds a bit shaky, and some three tracks from september 1954 with the MJQ without Milt sound nice but it seem´s to be an exhausted and tired Bird. I think I have one else from early  54 on a BN with some good Bird but not with the best rhythm section.....

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17 hours ago, mjzee said:

I have "The Happy 'Bird'" from the Charlie Parker Records box.  4 tracks on the album; 3 are from 4/12/51, but I Remember April, with Twardzik, is indeed from December 1952.  It appears to be from the same gig that's on the Uptown disc, but interestingly does not appear on the Uptown disc!

Yes.  I'll Remember April is apparently not on the same tape from December 14 that is on the Uptown disc.  It could have been from another date of the same gig.

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On 2/6/2018 at 5:41 PM, Larry Kart said:

Bird's playing on this recording "is at a level notably higher than any Parker had reached before"?

Did I say that? I hope not because I don't believe it. It's superb Bird, but  there's lots of other superb Bird of various moods and kinds.

I can certainly see why hearing this for the first time might  lead to some hyperbole. There may be Bird performances  that equal this, but I can't think of any that top it.  1952 is a good year for Bird.  Also I wonder if playing in the afternoon had an effect.  BTW Both Symphony Sid and Bird refer  to Benny Harris is as the author of Ornithology with no mention of Bird being co-author. 

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