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Charlie Parker session details

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May 12, 1949 (8 items; TT = 28:19)
Colisée Movie Theatre, Roubaix (France)
Private recording (Acetate) (B-)

Charlie Parker (as); Kenny Dorham (tpt); Al Haig (p); Tommy Potter (b); Max Roach (d)

1 Ornithology (incomplete) (C. Parker-B. Harris) 4:19

Opening measures missing. During his solo Parker quotes "Shortnin' Bread" (0:25-0:28) and "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" (0:36-0:39); Parker and Roach exchanges following Haig's solo (3:26-3:53)
2 Out of Nowhere (incomplete) (E. Heyman-J.W. Green) 3:44

Begins in the middle of Parker's solo, and cut off a few measures into Potter's solo
3 Cheryl (incomplete) (C. Parker) 2:45

Begins toward the end of Parker's solo. Near the end of Haig's solo (2:07) Parker yells "Play a chord!" During the applause he shouts "Merci!" (2:32); stage chatter
4 52nd Street Theme (incomplete) (T. Monk) 1:11

Parker plays only during opening theme; cut off after Dorham solo
5 Lover Man (incomplete) (J. Davis-R. Ramirez-J. Sherman) 4:23

Opening measures missing, and cut off at the end of Haig's solo
6 Groovin' High (incomplete) (D. Gillespie-F. Paparelli) 4:31

Begins just before Parker's solo. Enthusiastic applause after Dorham and Haig's solo, and during Roach's solo. Faded during closing theme
7 Half Nelson (incomplete) (M. Davis) 4:31

Opening measures missing. From the middle of Haig's solo (about 3:20) there's increasingly noticeable tape-recorder noise. At the beginning of the exchanges following Haig's solo, Parker quotes "Cool Blues" (4:15-4:18). Cut off
8 52nd Street Theme (incomplete) (T. Monk) 2:55

Begins toward the end of Parker's solo


1 Ornithology (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), Volume 58 (W 889), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658

2 Out of Nowhere (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2, Phontastic NOST-7602
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658

3 Cheryl (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658

4 52nd Street Theme (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658

5 Lover Man (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658

6 Groovin' High (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658

7 Half Nelson (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658

8 52nd Street Theme (incomplete)
12" LP: Bird Box 01-22 LP 2
CD: Philology Volume 11 (W 622), New Sound Planet JUTB 3002, Sound Hills SSCD 8018, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88658


These are low-fidelity fragmentary recordings. Recording equipment noise is audible on "Ornithology," Out of Nowhere," and (especially) "Half Nelson."

Parker was in Paris to participate in the Festival International 1949 de Jazz, which included many traditional acts from the United States -- Sidney Bechet, Russell Moore, Oran "Hot Lips" Paige -- but also introduced bebop groups like the Charlie Parker Quintet and the Miles Davis-Tadd Dameron quintet. Also on the bill were musicians from England (Vic Lewis's big band), Belgium (Toots Thielemans Trio), Switzerland (Hazy Osterwald's quintet), Italy (Armando Trovajoli), and of course many from France (including Aimé Barelli, Hubert Rostang, the Django Reinhardt Quintet). [roster] [program cover] [Jazz Hot Nr. 22 (Mai 1949)]

Parker arrived in Paris on Friday, May 6, with Sidney Bechet, Kenny Clarke, and several other American musicians. The following day rehearsals were scheduled at the Salle Pleyel (Parker was AWOL and missed this one) and the Club St. Germain, and in the evening the festival promoters threw a cocktail party for the musicians at the Pavilion de 'Elysee. The Parker Quintet was in France for nine more days (May 8-16), booked at the following venues:

May 8-9: Salle Pleyel, Paris (Festival International de Jazz -- opposite Sidney Bechet, Hot Lips Page, the Miles Davis-Tadd Dameron Quintet, and others)
May 10-11: Rex Theatre, Club Martinez et Christera, Marseilles
May 12: Colisée Movie Theatre, Roubaix
May 14: Salle Pleyel, Paris
May 15: Salle Pleyel (two concerts, including closing All-Star jam session)

Or, as the liner notes to Spotlite SPJ-118 have it,

Bird and his men -- Kenny Dorham, Al Haig, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach -- played evening concerts on the Sunday and Monday, then did a concert the following Saturday, winding up with afternoon and evening shows on Sunday, May 15, the final day of the festival. From Tuesday to Friday the group undertook a short tour playing concerts in Roubaix and Marseille before returning to Paris.

André Hodier reviewed the festival in his essay "Le Festival 1949" in Jazz Hot No. 34 (Juin 1949), pp. 7-10.

Thanks to Pascal Garnier for sharing the Juin 1949 issue of Jazz Hot.

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