Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker – Town Hall NYC, June 22, 1945 (2005)

FrontCover1The historic live Town Hall sessions by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker from 1945 have been discovered on an acetate pressing, and are transferred with digital enhancement to CD. Why this concert was not issued initially is understandable, but Ira Gitler’s informative and insightful liner notes suggest they likely were misplaced. What Gitler’s essential writing also reveals is that these dates were approximate by only weeks to the original studio recordings of these classics, and there was no small amount of controversy surrounding this revolutionary bebop. Clearly bop was a vehicle for intricate melodic invention followed by lengthy soloing, aspects of which Parker with Gillespie were perfectly suited for. Fact is, the situation surrounding the sonic capture and extended neglected shelf life of this performance was far from optimal.


Symphony Sid Torin is the M.C., rambling as always, making repeated references to Dizzy “Jillespie” and misidentifying Max Roach as Sid Catlett on “Salt Peanuts.” (Catlett does sit in on “Hot House” in a more supportive than demonstrative role.) The tracks with the brilliant Roach are on fire, particularly the super-hot “Salt Peanuts,” with pianist Al Haig flying beside him. Haig is perhaps the most impressive musician. The rhythm section, especially Haig, is more present in the mix and up front, while the trumpet and alto sax are buried. As the concert progresses, it gets better, with Gillespie’s muted trumpet clearer. Parker lays back on the mike, but not in spirit or bravado for “Interlude,” which is now known as “A Night in Tunisia,” and better balanced during “Groovin’ High,” which was originally titled “Whispering.”

There seems to be an unplanned slight key chance in the bridge of “Groovin’ High.” A late-arriving Parker was in part replaced by tenor saxophonist Don Byas, who sounds terrific on the opener, “Bebop,” until Parker steps on-stage and ups the ante. At under 41 minutes in length, this can be looked upon as a historical document, likely appealing only to completists. But the overriding factor of previously undiscovered Diz and Bird makes the CD something all bebop fans should readily embrace, despite its audio deficiencies. (Michael G. Nastos)


Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet)
Al Haig (piano)
Charlie Parker (saxophone)
Max Roach (drums)
Curley Russell (bass)
Don Byas (saxophone on 01.)
Sidney Catlett (drums on 05. + 06.)

01. Intro 1.20
02-  Bebop (Gillespie) 7.11
03. A Night In Tunisia (Gillespie/Paparelli) 7.34
04. Groovin’ High (Gillespie) 7.16
05. Salt Peanuts (Clarke/Gillespie) 7.52
06. Hot House (Dameron) 7.14
07. Fifty Second Street Theme (Monk) 2.14




Charlie Parker – April In Paris (1957)

CharlieParkerAprilInParisFCCharlie Parker’s digital discography is peppered with collections using the words “April in Paris” as part of the title. Released in 2000, Blue Night’s budget edition contains only about 45 minutes of music extracted from Bird’s Verve catalog, the body of works that map much of his progress during the last few years of his short life. The 12 recordings that make up this little taste were made under the supervision of Norman Granz between November 30, 1949 and March 31, 1954 and feature such brilliant improvisers as Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Red Rodney, Max Roach, and Roy Haynes. Charles Parker is also backed by orchestras operating under the leadership of Joe Lippman, Jimmy Carroll, and Gil Evans. While literally dozens of better Charlie Parker samplers are available, if you have bumped into a copy of Blue Night’s April in Paris you should probably snap it up so as to have ready access to a pediatric dose of Bird on Verve. (by arwulf arwulf)The genius of Bird and strings is hard to describe – an edgey aproach that really goes far past most other “jazz with strings” projects, not a ballad-driven one, but a tensely strained one that brings out some of Parker’s best soloing, almost in a moody soundtrack-type way. The tracks are a lot freer and less bop-driven than some of Bird’s normal work, and it’s incredible to hear him soloing with such complexity – even more proof of the genius he clearly exhibited in relation to his contemporaries. (by dusty groove)

Frank Brieff (viola)
Eddie Brown (oboe)
Maurice Brown (cello)
Ray Brown (bass)
Sam Caplan (violin)
Stan Freeman (piano)
Bronislaw Gimpel (violin)
Max Hollander (violin)
Howard Kay violin)
Harry Melnikoff (violin)
Charlie Parker (saxophone)
Bernie Leighton (piano)
Milton Lomask (violin)
Frank Miller (cello)
Mitch Miller (oboe)
Verley Mills (harp)
Sam Rand (violin)
Myor Rosen (harp)
Buddy Rich (drums)
Joseph Singer (french horn)
Zelly Smirnoff (violin)
Isadore Zir (viola)

Arranged & conducted by Jimmy Carroll & Joe Lipman


01. April In Paris (Duke/Harburg) 3.09
02. Summertime (Gershwin) 2.49
03. If I Should Lose You (Rainger/Robin) 2.49
04. I Didn´t Know What Time It Was (Hart/Rodgers) 3.15
05. Everything Happens To Me (Adair/Carmichael/Dennis/Mercer) 3.10
06. Just Friends (Klenner/Lewis) 3.32
07. They Can´t Take That Away From Me (Gershwin) 3.21
08. Out Of Nowhere (Green/Heyman) 3.08
09. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon) (Bowman) 3.42
10. Easy To Love (Porter) 3.31
11. I´m In The Mood For Love (Fields/McHugh) 3.35
12. I´ll Remember April (DePaul/Johnston/Raye) 3.06
13. Dancing In The Dark (Dietz/Schwartz) 3.13
14. Laura (Mercer/Raksin) 2.59
15. Autumn In New York (Duke) 3.31
16. Stella By Starlight (Washington/Young) 2.57