Parker plays only on the closing chorus of "Conception."
There is a lot of uncertainty about the dating of this music. The Miles Davis-Stan
Getz Sextet were booked at Birdland for a week in February (Feb 9-16), and some broadcast
recordings have been issued.
Davis's own sextet, with Brew Moore replacing Getz and occasionally joined by vocalist
"Little" Jimmy Scott, remained at Birdland (opposite Ella Fitzgerald and the Bud
Powell Trio) through July 6th.
In the notes to the JMY CD, Enrico Merlin argues that these tunes are all from a
single night, June 30. Ken Vail (Miles' Diary) claims that broadcast recordings
were made over several nights during this period:
- Wednesday, May 17: Max is Making Wax; Chubby's Blues; Conception/Deception
- Thursday, May 18: Hot House; 52nd Street Theme (Davis was in Columbia's 30th
Street Studios with Sarah Vaughan and the Jimmy Jones Octet for sessions on May
18 and 19.)
- Saturday, May 20: 'Round Midnight; Embraceable You; Wee
- Sunday, May 21: Ow; For Now My Love [sic]; September in the Rain; Eronel; 52nd
- Monday, May 29: 52nd Street Theme
- Tuesday, May 30: Wee; Chubby's Blues
- Friday, June 30: Hot House; Embraceable You; Eronel; 52nd Street Theme (Walter
Bishop, Jr. replaces Tadd Dameron)
Vail's source is probably Boris Rose's "log," which lists many of these tunes
with the titles under which they were first issued -- "Poobah," "Moo," "Mile's
Midnight Breakaway," "Overturia," "Rambunctious Rambling," etc.
A second trumpet is audible on several tunes -- "Hot House," "Conception/Deception,"
"Eronel," and the long "52nd Street Theme" -- and this is usually identified as
Fats Navarro, who died of tuberculosis on July 7. He's in sad shape here, and seems
especially lost on "Conception/Deception." Davis avoids the bridge on "Eronel" (he
apparently disliked the tune) and just improvises over the B-section of the melody.
As far as I know, this is his only recorded performance of the tune.
In favor of the June 30 date, however unlikely it may seem given Navarro's death
on July 7, Dan Morgenstern writes in the Columbia liner notes 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." On the other hand, writing about some other
recordings of 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,
Ember/Fat Boy FBB-901 includes about two hours of Charlie Parker material from Birdland
around this time (also included in Rose's log), as well as "Conception/Deception"
and the longer "52nd Street Theme" listed above. In his notes, Robert Bregman offers
a date of May 15-16. The varied personnel does suggest a Monday night, since Mondays
were jam session nights at Birdland. Parker's working quintet at the time included
either Red Rodney or Kenny Dorham, Al Haig, Tommy Potter, and Roy Haynes, and they
were booked at Birdland through much of May. Both Navarro and the Bud Powell
Trio were also booked at Birdland during this period.
I'm grateful to Leif Bo Petersen and Jay Becker for help with this session. Plenty
of uncertainty remains.