(This post originally ran in 2014, but a record company or an agent or a publicist or fate removed the videos. The Rifftides staff has patiently reassembled the piece and restored the music. If Youtube or the previous culprit strikes again, we give up. But please note the link to an invaluable Bird box set.)
When buried in deadlines and unable to create sparkling new material, give ‘em some Charlie Parker, that’s my motto.
Here 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.