In the notes to Philology W 843, Robert Bregman claims that "Miles was on the bill
[this] night but our tapes do not have him and Bird together." Philology W 843 gives
"possibly August or Fall, 1948" as the date for this session. This raises difficulties,
however, since Davis (as a member of the Parker Quintet) was booked in various New
York venues throughout July, spent the month of August rehearsing his Nonet, and
spent most of September in the Royal Roost with both groups. All of this is well
documented on recordings. And by December Parker was back at the Roost for a four
month gig that extended through March 1949.
Further, Gillespie was on the west coast from mid-July until mid-September; he opened
at the Showboat in Milwaukee on September 18th, and probably stayed there for a
week, and afterward played one-nighters in Hartford (Sept. 27) and Bridgeport (Sept.
29). He began a three-week engagement at the Royal Roost on October 30th.
Despite these difficulties, Ken Vail (Bird's Diary) places the Pershing
Hotel Gillespie Big Band show on September 26. He makes no mention of Davis.
In addition to the personnel difficulties, the repertoire raises questions about
the date. On the one hand, "Lover Man" and "Yesterdays" were common in Gillespie's
band during late 1947 -- there are live recordings from Carnegie Hall and Cornell
University -- but they were not in the band's book by 1948. On the other hand,
"Cool Breeze," "Algo Bueno," and "Good Bait" were recorded on December 22, 1947,
and "Manteca" and "Ool Ya Koo" on December 30, 1947. I'm not sure what to make
of these facts.
Davis's trumpet is clearly audible on the three titles indicated; it's hard to
tell whether he plays on the rest of the titles.
The Parker quintet and Gillespie big band were both in the midwest in November 1947,
so it may be that these items are from then. On the other hand, they played in Chicago
in late 1948 as well. After returning from a European tour in the summer of 1948,
the Gillespie hit the road in the U.S. In To Be or Not to Bop trombonist
Jesse "Rip" Tarrant is quoted: "In 1948 Diz came back from Europe, and there was
an opening in the trombone section, and that's how I got the job... I would say
the best performance to my knowledge was in Chicago. We did a dance and a concert,
and Bird and Diz were in the front of the band. Man, that was rough, Bird and Diz.
Then I remember we came right back with Diz and Miles playing with our band. But
I think the one with Diz was the best I ever heard. They turned everybody on. Bird
did our book with us. And then he went through things on his own with Diz, things
they used to do together. But when they did them with our band... Boy, that band
sounded beautiful that night!"
There are a few Parker quintet items ("Groovin' High," "All the Things You Are,"
and "Half Nelson") usually placed at the Pershing on or around this date. There's
no trumpet solo on "Groovin' High," but Davis is clearly audible on the other two
Thanks to Leif Bo Petersen, James Accardi, and Tommaso Urbano for help with this