Several interesting comments came in regarding the Charlie Parker posting. Many of them included information about the DVD that was the source of the footage on the Dailymotion web site. Here are some of the reader responses.
The Parker/Hawkins footage is on “The Greatest Jazz Films Ever,” available from various outlets. That 2-DVD set also includes the complete Sound Of Jazz, Jammin’ The Blues with alternate takes, The Robert Herridge Theater Miles Davis/Gil Evans program, the “Hot House” Bird/Dizzy TV appearance and Jazz From Studio 61, featuring the Ahmad Jamal Trio and a Ben Webster all-star group. An absolutely essential DVD set. By the way, you should know that on the Parker/Hawkins Jazz At The Philharmonic segment, the musicians are playing to a pre-recorded track – watch the hands of Ray Brown and Buddy Rich. Notice that the sound is excellent studio sound, but there are no microphones visible. And if you watch really closely, you’ll see a number of places where it doesn’t match up (if you watch that closely, though, it takes away from the enjoyment of the film, I have to admit). Check out Buddy Rich’s tiny drum set. He must have laughed when he came into the studio and saw that. It was directed by Gjon Mili, just like “Jammin’ The Blues.”
The 2 DVD set that Jon Foley references is a Spanish production that most likely has ignored the fact that this footage was edited and produced by Norman Granz, Frank Tenot, and Jacques Muyal and is ® 1996. I am certain that if Norman were still alive he would descend upon the Spanish producers and sue them for every penny in their possession. Of course they would point to the fact that it was filmed in 1950 and therefore exempt from copyright protection. But the truth is that the footage had been in storage until the nineties when Granz was urged to release it, and had never been released or viewed prior until 1997 when it came out in Japan. Upon closer examination of the credits on the box I see that it was also released as a Laser Disc, TOLW-3258. I recall that Swing Journal devoted numerous pages to this monumental release when it came out.
One of the delights of the original production is the on camera presence of Norman Granz who opens the film and sets the stage for what he was trying to achieve, an examination of the art of improvisation which is at the heart of jazz. Norman also narrates introductions to the film clips that follow the opening Mili sequence. The BLUES FOR JOAN MIRO clip with Duke Ellington was filmed at the Foundation Maeght in St. Paul on the Riviera, and includes Miro and Duke strolling the grounds before Duke sits down to improvise his piece dedicated to Miro.
You did fine in thinking the tune Hawk is featured on is “I Got It Bad,,,,” only it is called “Ballade” on the the records and videos that have it. The second tune by Bird and the rhythm section is called “Celebrity.” These were recorded in a studio in NYC in the Fall of 1950. The filming was done later in Gjon Mili’s studio with the players doing their best to sync it.
Ah. Good. The ears may still have a few miles to go.
Wow, killer site with the jazz clips. Those Bird vids where he confidently cuts (Hawk) and Hawk looks sorry he ever showed up…and Bird digging Buddy for his sheer energy level are something–as is everything else at the site, in fact. Mick Jagger singing “Like a Rolling Stone” ain’t chopped liver, either.
Hats off to you! Fab find.
You probably don’t want people commenting on other comments, but Marc Myers seems to be projecting too much of his own point of view onto the reactions of Bird and Hawk. I don’t see any expression of remorse or discomfort by Hawkins – just mutual digging and appreciation by both of them. Hawkins’ solo is beautiful, and Bird appreciates it, just as Hawkins appears to groove to Bird. And one can just as easily read Bird’s response to Buddy Rich as mocking disbelief at the bombastic drummer’s unhip antics, but that would be my opinion.
Not apropos of Charlie Parker, but if you live in or around New York City and your interests include chamber music, do yourself a favor and visit Mr. Beckhardt’s website, Hellgate Harmonie. It will tell you about performances in the kinds of places Mozart frequented in Vienna in the late 1780s. You might hear fine music for the price of a beer or a cup of coffee. Intriguing.
The story behind that Billie Holiday/Prez segment on The Sound Of Jazz was told me by Gerry Mulligan, who was also there. Prez was not in good shape at the rehearsal, and the Basie alumni group he was supposed to play with complained about having him with them. Billie said, “Let him play with me,” and during the rehearsal, Prez played weakly, trying to put some ideas together for his solo. On the take, he really pulled himself together and, though not physically strong, played a lovely chorus. It was his triumph over his condition that evoked the expression on Billie’s face that was caught by the camera.
Mr. Crow, as nearly everyone knows, was the bassist with Mulligan’s quartet and, later, his Concert Jazz Band. He is the author of Jazz Anecdotes and From Birdland to Broadway, essential inclusions in every two-foot shelf of books about jazz.
Jack Goodwin says
BBC 4 TV broadcast an hour long “Charlie Parker Story” on 20th. January this year, here in the UK. They showed an extract which was stated to have been cut out from the film of Bird with Hawk. This shows Hawk having great difficulty in matching his fingering to the pre-recorded solo and Bird begins to smile broadly as he watches. Eventually Bird bursts out laughing and then waves an apology to the producer.