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Charlie Parker session details

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March 28-April 10, 1949 (?) (26 items; TT = 50:00)
Pershing Hotel Ballroom, Chicago IL
Private recording (Acetate) (C+)

Charlie Parker (as); Kenny Dorham (tpt); Al Haig (p); Tommy Potter (b); Max Roach (d)

1 My Old Flame (A. Johnston-S. Coslow) 2:03

"Country Gardens" tag (1:57-2:03)
2 How High the Moon (N. Hamilton-M. Lewis) 2:32
3 Big Foot (C. Parker) 2:49

During his solo Parker quotes "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" (0:31-0:35)
4 Slow Boat to China (F. Loesser) 2:22
5 All of Me (S. Simons-G. Marks) 1:05
6 Cheryl (C. Parker) 2:41
7 Home Sweet Home (Traditional) 0:31

Closing theme?
8 Wee (D. Best) 3:29
9 Ko Ko (C. Parker) 0:43

Fragment of Parker solo
10 Little Willie Leaps (M. Davis) 2:00
11 Dizzy Atmosphere (D. Gillespie-C. Parker) 1:55
12 Bebop (D. Gillespie) 2:24
13 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 0:07
14 Wee (D. Best) 2:08
15 All the Things You Are (J. Kern-O. Hammerstein) 1:58

Short version (1:15) on Philology Vol. 14; longer version (1:58) on Philology Vol. 4. Parker quotes "On the Trail" and "Kerry Dancers" in quick succession: 0:29-0:43 of shorter version = 1:08-1:21 of longer version
16 Bebop (D. Gillespie) 2:07

During his solo Parker quotes "Donna Lee" (0:48-0:50)
17 Barbados (C. Parker) 2:44

Incomplete (2:12) on Volumes 1/4 and 14; two fragments (2:02 + 0:42) on Philology Volume 65
18 Salt Peanuts (D. Gillespie-K. Clarke) 1:27
19 Slow Boat to China (F. Loesser) 3:12

Off-speed on Philology Volumes 14 and 40; correct speed on Philology Volume 65
20 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 0:37

Two fragments (0:09 + 0:31) on Philology Volume 14; only the first fragment is included in Philology Volume 65
21 Embraceable You (G. Gershwin-I. Gershwin) 1:57

Incomplete (1:06) on Philology Volumes 14 and 66; possible splice at 1:10 in longer version on Philology Volumes 1/4 and 65
22 How High the Moon (N. Hamilton-M. Lewis) 1:12

Parker quotes "Kerry Dancers" at 0:13-0:15
23 A Night in Tunisia (D. Gillespie-F. Paparelli) 2:47
24 Barbados (C. Parker) 2:47
25 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 1:50
26 52nd Street Theme (T. Monk) 0:33


1 My Old Flame
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

2 How High the Moon
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

3 Big Foot
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

4 Slow Boat to China
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844), Stash STB 2500

5 All of Me
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

6 Cheryl
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

7 Home Sweet Home
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

8 Wee
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

9 Ko Ko
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844), Volume 43 (W 874)

10 Little Willie Leaps
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

11 Dizzy Atmosphere
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

12 Bebop
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

13 52nd Street Theme
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

14 Wee
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

15 All the Things You Are
CD: Philology Volumes 1/4 (W 5/18), Volume 14 (W 844), Volume 65 (W 896)

16 Bebop
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

17 Barbados
12" LP: Philology Volume 4 (W 18)
CD: Philology Volumes 1/4 (W 5/18), Volume 14 (W 844), Volume 40 (W 871), Volume 65 (W 896), Stash STB 2500

18 Salt Peanuts
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844)

19 Slow Boat to China
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844), Volume 40 (W 871), Volume 65 (W 896)

20 52nd Street Theme
CD: Philology Volume 14 (W 844), Volume 40 (W 871), Volume 65 (W 896)

21 Embraceable You
12" LP: Philology Volume 4 (W 18)
CD: Philology Volumes 1/4 (W 5/18), Volume 14 (W 844), Volume 65 (W 896), Volume 66 (W 897)

22 How High the Moon
12" LP: Philology Volume 4 (W 18)
CD: Pholology Volumes 1/4 (W 5/18), Volume 65 (W 896)

23 A Night in Tunisia
CD: Philology Volume 5/6 (W 19/29), Volume 57 (W 888)

24 Barbados
CD: Philology Volume 66 (W 897)

25 52nd Street Theme
CD: Philology Volume 66 (W 897)

26 52nd Street Theme
CD: Philology Volume 66 (W 897)


This material is very fragmentary, edited to Parker solos for the most part. These may be dubs of wire recordings -- the fidelity is quite poor throughout, and there are serious speed and pitch fluctuations. Philology Volume 14 contains two versions of "Dizzy Atmosphere" -- maybe one is a dub of the other, but they are the same performance. A shorter (but slightly better-sounding) version of "All the Things You Are" is included on Philology Volume 14; a longer version is included on Volume 4. They are the same performance, as the quotations of "On the Trail" and "Kerry Dancers" make clear.

The last three items are included on Philology Volume 66. They are badly off-speed and I have tried to correct for this in the timings listed above. They may belong elsewhere, but I have not been able to match them with other versions.

I am unsure of both the date and the personnel for this session. Most discographies place these tunes in November 1947, with Parker, Davis, Jordan, Potter, and Roach. Since that group was booked at the Argyle Lounge for two weeks during that period -- November 11-23, 1947 -- this is possible. That group also played the Pershing Ballroom in Chicago on January 3-6, 1948, and the tunes might be from that session. Nevertheless, I am convinced these items are from later. Frank Loesser's tune "On a Slow Boat to China" was not copyrighted until 1948, and "Barbados" was not recorded in the studio until the Savoy date on September 18, 1948. It is very unusual for a tune to appear in the live repertoire before it has been recorded. Further, Parker's quotations and his playing (especially during his solo on the second "Slow Boat to China") sound like 1949, not 1947. Finally, to my ears the trumpet player sounds like Kenny Dorham, not Davis. The Parker Quintet (with Dorham, Haig, Potter, and Roach) played a two-week engagement at Chicago's Pershing Hotel Ballroom from March 28-April 10, 1949, and my guess is that these tunes were recorded during this gig. I'm grateful to Phil Wilson, Leif Bo Petersen, and John Griffin for help with this session.

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