Charlie Parker session details

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April 8, 1951 (11 items; TT = 29:54)
Birdland, New York NY
Voice of America radio broadcast (B-)
Charlie Parker Quintet
Chatter: [show] [hide]

Charlie Parker (as); J.B. "Dizzy" Gillespie (tpt); Billy Taylor (p); Tommy Potter (b); Roy Haynes (d); Georgie Auld (ts); Frank Rosalino (tb, voc); Harvey Leonard (p); Dillon "Curley" Russell (b); Norman "Tiny" Kahn (d); Willis Conover (ann); Leonard Feather (ann)

1 Theme and introduction (Willis Conover) 0:21
2 Interview (Feather, Auld) 2:14
3 Perdido (J. Tizol) 6:20
4 Robbins' Nest (inc) (I. Jacquet-C. Thompson) 4:29
5 Interview (Feather, Parker) 1:54
6 Hot House (T. Dameron) 4:14
7 Introduction (Feather) 0:15
8 Embraceable You (G. Gershwin-I. Gershwin) 3:34
9 Ornithology (C. Parker-B. Harris) 5:20
10 Closing announcement (Feather) 0:38
11 Closing announcement and theme (Conover) 0:35


6 Hot House
12" LP: Bird Box LP 14, Klacto MG 102
CD: Bird Box Volume 11, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 53 (W 884)

7 Introduction (Feather)
12" LP: Bird Box LP 14, Klacto MG 102
CD: Bird Box Volume 11, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 53 (W 884)

8 Embraceable You
12" LP: Bird Box LP 14, Klacto MG 102
CD: Bird Box Volume 11, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 53 (W 884)

9 Ornithology
12" LP: Bird Box LP 14, Klacto MG 102
CD: Bird Box Volume 11, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 53 (W 884)


The Gillespie-Parker quintet (with Powell, Potter, and Haynes) opened at Birdland on March 29, and there is a WJZ broadcast from March 31. Powell was soon replaced by Billy Taylor, and the group remained at Birdland until April 8.

This set was broadcast as part of VOA's Jazz Club USA. Birdland, which had opened in mid-December 1949, quickly became one of the best places in New York to hear "modern" jazz -- hence Feather's descriptions: "New York's outstanding home of modern jazz," "the so-called jazz center of the world," etc. Here Feather says that Birdland had been open for about eighteen months, so the broadcast may have taken place in April-May 1951.

The Jazz Club USA broadcasts were announced in the press in March 1951. By mid-March, thirteen of the planned 26 programs had been produced, compiled on 16" transcription recordings, and were ready for shipment to Europe and South America; they were also broadcast directly on shortwave on Mondays, 9:45–22:15 GMT. (Musical Express, March 30, 1951, "The State 'Voice of America' broadcasts 'Jazz Club USA'"; Billboard, March 19, 1951, p. 10: "Feather to E.T. Show for 'Voice of America'"). According to Variety (March 14, 1951), "Leonard Feather will broadcast from Birdland on Saturday, April 7. The program will include a live jam session that may turn into a regular Saturday event". The New York Times has that Birdland broadcast beginning at midnight on Sunday (April 8), so that may be the correct date of this broadcast. There is a lot of commotion in the background during Feather's interview with Parker and his closing comments, and this may be the impressionist George Kirby, who performed on March 31 when Symphony Sid emceed the WJZ broadcast mentioned above.

According to the New Yorker (March 24, 1951, p. 6), the Errol Garner Trio, Slim Gaillard, and Charlie Parker with Strings closed on March 28: "Next evening Charlie Parker (completely unstrung this time), joins Dizzy Gillespie's outfit, and Georgie Auld's outfit also moves in." But we have a WJZ broadcast of Charlie Parker with Strings from April 7, so the strings group must have stayed on.

I'm grateful to Leif Bo Petersen and James Accardi for help with this session.

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