Busy Day, Early Bird

When buried in deadlines and unable to create sparkling new material, give ‘em some Charlie Parker, that’s my motto.

charlie parker laughingHere is Parker on September 15, 1944, at the WOR studios in New York City. The leader on the record date was guitarist Lloyd “Tiny” Grimes. The other musicians are Clyde Hart, an important pianist in the transition from swing to bebop; Jimmy Butts, bass; and Harold “Doc” West, drums. “Red Cross,” is one of 3,427 (or so) jazz compositions based on the form and harmonies of George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm.” Have you ever wondered what swing and bop musicians would have done for material if Gershwin hadn’t written “I Got Rhythm” and “Lady, Be Good?” This tune was named not in honor of the American Red Cross, but for Bob Redcross, Billy Eckstine’s valet, who was a sometime drummer.

This box set (that’s a link) has all of the tracks from Parker’s Tiny Grimes session and dozens of other recordings of early Bird.

Oh, all right. One more.

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  1. says

    One of my favorites with Bird, “RED CROSS”. What a great line, and so inconvenient to play on the trumpet. We nevertheless tried to revive it (feel free to click on my name). — They’ve discovered some unissued, and quite worn discs in Bobby Redcross’ closet, with Bird On Tenor. Very interesting sounds, featuring Bird & Diz, and Oscar Pettiford when they were members of the Earl Hines Orchestra in 1943.

  2. David says

    Not entirely unissued. I have this on a 1986 Stash release along with four other tracks of Bird on tenor all recorded in “Room 305 of the Savoy Hotel, Chicago” in 1943. Redcross, himself, is credited on “brushes” on one track. This release also included other rare live recordings of Bird (on alto) from 1946-53.