Charlie Parker session details

[Return to main page]

May 17, 1950 (18 items; TT = 94:59)
Birdland, New York NY
Private recording (Tape) (B)
Charlie Parker Sextet

Charlie Parker (as); Theodore "Fats" Navarro (tpt); Earl "Bud" Powell (p); Walter Bishop, Jr. (p); Dillon "Curley" Russell (b); Tommy Potter (b); Art Blakey (d); Roy Haynes (d); "Little" Jimmy Scott (voc)

1 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 1:42
2 Wahoo [Perdido] (T. Dameron) 6:52

Parker and Blakey exchanges following Powell's solo (5:29-6:06)
3 'Round Midnight (incomplete) (B. Hanighen-C. Williams-T. Monk) 5:21
4 This Time the Dream's on Me (H. Arlen-J. Mercer) 6:26

Navarro out. Parker and Blakey exchanges following Powell's solo (4:57-5:38)
5 Dizzy Atmosphere (D. Gillespie-C. Parker) 7:11

During his solo Navarro quotes "All of Me" (3:11-3:14); Navarro, Parker, and Blakey exchanges following Powell's solo (5:40-6:26)
6 A Night in Tunisia (D. Gillespie-F. Paparelli) 5:36

Parker out
7 Move (D. Best) 6:30

Parker out during opening chorus. During his solo Powell quotes "Rhythm-a-ning" (4:19-4:22); he ends the solo with a quick allusion to "52nd Street Theme" (5:11); Parker and Navarro exchanges before the closing chorus (5:12-5:59). Listed as "Moo" on Ozone 4
8 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 0:21
9 The Street Beat (C. Thompson) 9:24

Parker out on opening chorus. At the beginning of Navarro's solo, someone yells "Go girl!" During his solo Parker quotes "Moose the Mooche" (4:50-4:54); he plays some weird phrases during Powell's solo (6:37-6:42), and Powell responds by quoting "Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie" (6:58-7:06). Parker and Navarro exchanges before closing theme (7:20-8:50). Listed as "Rifftide" on Ozone 9
10 Out of Nowhere (incomplete) (E. Heyman-J.W. Green) 6:26

Opening measures missing. Parker out on opening chorus. Parker can be heard talking to Navarro toward the end of Powell's solo (5:07-5:23); before the closing theme he and Navarro split a chorus (5:26-5:55)
11 Little Willie Leaps (M. Davis) 5:37
12 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 0:18
13 Ornithology (C. Parker-B. Harris) 8:04

At the beginning of Parker's solo someone (Little Jimmy Scott?) yells "Go, baby!" During his solo Navarro quotes "Cool Blues" (3:08-3:10); Parker and Navarro exchanges following Powell's solo (6:17-7:23)
14 I'll Remember April (D. Raye-G. DePaul-P. Johnston) 8:07

Navarro out. Parker and Blakey exchanges following Powell's solo (5:18-7:00)
15 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 1:32

Navarro plays in the ensemble but doesn't solo
16 Embraceable You (G. Gershwin-I. Gershwin) 6:18

Add Scott (voc). Parker plays the opening chorus and some occasional obbligatos behind Scott; he ends with the "Country Gardens" tag (6:02-6:09)
17 Cool Blues (incomplete) (C. Parker) 7:03

Parker, Navarro, and Haynes exchanges following Bishop's solo (5:32-6:27). Parker breaks in with the closing theme eight measures too early (at 6:18); Navarro recovers, then continues with the closing chorus. Splice at 4:33
18 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 2:11


1 52nd Street Theme
12" LP: Ozone 4, Bird Box LP 7
CD: Bird Box Volume 5, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

2 Wahoo
12" LP: Ozone 4, Bird Box LP 7, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 5, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

3 'Round Midnight (incomplete)
12" LP: Ozone 4, Bird Box LP 7, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 5, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

4 This Time the Dream's on Me
12" LP: Ozone 4, Bird Box LP 7, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 5, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

5 Dizzy Atmosphere
12" LP: Ozone 4, Bird Box LP 7, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

6 A Night in Tunisia
12" LP: Bird Box LP 7, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Volume 57 (W 888), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

7 Move
12" LP: Ozone 9, Bird Box LP 7, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Cool and Blue CD 103, Musica Jazz MJCD 1102, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

8 52nd Street Theme
12" LP: Ozone 9, Bird Box LP 7, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

9 The Street Beat
12" LP: Ozone 9, Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

10 Out of Nowhere (incomplete)
12" LP: Ozone 9, Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 50 (W 881), Cool and Blue CD 103, Musica Jazz MJCD 1102, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

11 Little Willie Leaps
12" LP: Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

12 52nd Street Theme
12" LP: Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

13 Ornithology
12" LP: Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Volume 58 (W 889), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

14 I'll Remember April
12" LP: Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

15 52nd Street Theme
12" LP: Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 6, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

16 Embraceable You
12" LP: Bird Box LP 8, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 7, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

17 Cool Blues (incomplete)
12" LP: Ozone 9, Bird Box LP 9, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 7, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647

18 52nd Street Theme
12" LP: Ozone 9, Bird Box LP 9, Columbia JG 34808
CD: Bird Box Volume 7, Sony SRCS 7111/2, Ember/Fat Boy FBB 901, Philology Volume 51 (W 882), Cool and Blue CD 103, Rare Live Recordings RLR 88647


Boris Rose lists the date as May 17, and most discographies place the tunes in May-June 1950, but they may be from much earlier. Navarro died of tuberculosis on July 7, and his playing on these titles is quite good, so the late date is unlikely. (Compare his playing here with that on the June 30 Birdland date with Miles Davis.) In the liner notes for Columbia LP 34808, Dan Morgenstern acknowledges this and writes that "Ira Gitler, who saw Fats at Birdland in 1950, recalls him as a shrunken, pitiful figure, racked by coughing and playing feebly. But available clues have been checked and rechecked, and June 30 is the date that comes up." (In another context, writing about Navarro, Gitler remarked, "I question the May 1950 dating of records made of his broadcasts from Café Society... His playing seems... too alive for the man who would be dead of tuberculosis on July 7" (Jazz Masters of the Forties, p. 101.)

In his notes to the Ember set Robert Bregman offers a date of May 15-16. The varied personnel does suggest a Monday night, which were jam session nights at Birdland.

In Yardbird Suite Larry Koch suggests that these tunes date from "the fall of 1949 or spring of 1950" (p. 191).

In Bird's Diary Ken Vail suggests that these titles were spread over a week:

  • May 17 (Wed): 52nd Street Theme, Wahoo, 'Round Midnight, This Time the Dream's on Me, Dizzy Atmosphere, Move, and 52nd Street Theme

  • May 18 (Thu; Bishop replaces Powell): 52nd Street Theme, A Night in Tunisia, The Street Beat, Out of Nowhere

  • May 20 (Sat; Powell back in group): Little Willie Leaps, 52nd Street Theme

  • May 21 (Sun): Ornithology, I'll Remember April, 52nd Street Theme, Embraceable You (Bishop replaces Powell)

  • May 23 (Tue): Lover Come Back to Me (see June-July 1950)

The Parker Quintet played several nights at Birdland beginning in February; in addition, various Miles Davis groups were booked at Birdland during these months, and both Navarro and the Bud Powell Trio were there during this period. So all the players were in the same place at the same time. Bishop and Haynes replace Powell and Blakey on "Cool Blues" and the final "52nd Street Theme."

Most of the tunes on the Columbia LP produced by Gary Giddins are clearly off-speed -- about a half step sharp, sometimes more. The Sony (J) CD reissue is also fast, but the versions on the Bird Box LPs and CDs play at the correct pitch.

Thanks to Robert Bregman and Leif Bo Petersen for help with this session.

All original content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License