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Charlie Parker session details

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December 23, 1950 (9 items; TT = 19:40)
Birdland, New York NY
WJZ radio broadcast (B)
Show chatter

Charlie Parker (as); Red Rodney [Robert Chudnick] (tpt); Kenny Drew (p); Dillon "Curley" Russell (b); Art Blakey (d); Bob Garrity (ann); Symphony Sid Torin (ann)

1 Announcement (Bob Garrity) 0:04
2 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid (with introduction) (L. Young) 0:51
3 Anthropology (D. Gillespie-C. Parker) 4:07

Parker, Rodney, and Blakey exchanges following piano solo (3:13-3:38)
4 Introduction (Symphony Sid Torin) 0:04
5 Embraceable You (G. Gershwin-I. Gershwin) 4:56

Parker is alone on opening choruses; he plays obbligatos behind Rodney on closing chorus. "Country Gardens" tag (4:49-4:56)
6 Cheryl (C. Parker) 4:33

Parker, Rodney, and Blakey exchanges following piano solo (3:23-3:48)
7 Introduction (Symphony Sid Torin) 0:03
8 Salt Peanuts (D. Gillespie-K. Clarke) 4:27

Parker (voc). During his solo Parker tosses off a quick allusion to "Country Gardens" (2:07-2:09)
9 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid (with closing announcement) (L. Young) 0:35


1 Announcement (Bob Garrity)
CD: Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

2 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid (with introduction)
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

3 Anthropology
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

4 Introduction (Symphony Sid Torin)
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

5 Embraceable You
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

6 Cheryl
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

7 Introduction (Symphony Sid Torin)
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

8 Salt Peanuts
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339

9 Jumpin' with Symphony Sid (with closing announcement)
CD: Royal Jazz RJD 506, Philology Volume 9 (W 120), Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Frémeaux & Associés FA 1339


These are complete performances, but poor fidelity which gets worse as set progresses. The version on Philology and Royal Jazz is almost a whole step sharp.

Although this material is usually listed as from December 8, that date is almost certainly incorrect. Parker was hospitalized on December 4 for a peptic ulcer, and besides the Mercury recording session with Machito and His Orchestra on December 21, he was out of commission for most of the month. He was booked at the Rendezvous in Philadelphia for a week beginning on Christmas night ("Rhythm and Blues Notes," Billboard, December 16, 1950, p. 31 states that Parker left the hospital "last week" and will start to work Christmas night. Personnel for the Philadelphia gig was listed as Parker, Red Rodney, Kenny Drew, Curley Russell, and Phil Brown.)

The opening announcement indicates that this is the first WJZ broadcast from Birdland. According to Leif Bo Petersen, the Birdland bills in December 1950 included:

  • December 7-14: Bill Farrell and Errol Garner;
  • December 15-20: Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Brown Trio, Billy Taylor Quartet, and Bud Powell Trio;
  • December 21-January 4: Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Brown Trio, Billy Taylor Quartet (Terry Gibbs was also added to the bill in late December).

It seems likely that this set was recorded after midnight on December 16 or 23. Powell's trio may have been replaced by the Parker quintet, since during this period Powell's behavior was erratic and unreliable. The closing announcement suggests that Parker may have continued at Birdland until late in December; if so, it may be that the Christmas engagement in Philadelphia was canceled.

Boris Rose is not the source of this recording. His first off-the-air recording from Birdland is on December 30 (Bill Harris, Terry Gibbs, and Ella Fitzgerald). The items listed here do not appear in Rose's lists, and they were probably recorded by someone else.

I'm grateful to Leif Bo Petersen for his help with this session.

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