Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Leo Parker and Sax Gill - Back To Back Baritones

Side A:
01. Woody - Leo Parker
02. Rolling With Parker - Leo Parker
03. Leo Leaps In - take 2 ** - Leo Parker
04. Solitude ** - Leo Parker
05. Rolling With Parker * - Leo Parker
06. Leo Leaps In - take 1 ** - Leo Parker
07. Leo Leaps In - take 3 ** - Leo Parker

Side B:
01. Crisco Jump ** - Sax Gill
02. Dancer's Delight - Sax Gill
03. Shortning Bread ** - Sax Gill
04. Bull Frog Bounce * - Sax Gill
05. That's The Groovy Thing * - Sax Gill
06. Mel's Jump ** - Sax Gill
07. That's The Groovy Thing * - Sax Gill

* = unreleased take
** = unreleased title

Here's a blast from the past! This compilation of sides recorded by baritone sax men Leo Parker and Sax Gill for Gotham was on the original Be Bop Wino blog about 10 years ago but with incomplete cover scans. Situation remedied for this re-up - there are new cover and label scans to go with the sound files.

Dave Penny's notes on the back cover are very thorough so there's little for me to add, except some links to other posts on Be Bop Wino where you can find more music featuring Leo Parker.

Of the two featured artists on the LP Leo Parker is by far the better known, being a major figure in the development of be bop who recorded with many of the well known musicians of the time. Originally an alto sax player, Leo shifted to baritone while with that nursery for bop, the Billy Eckstine band. He was with Eckstine from 1944 - 1946. Also in 1946 he recorded with Tadd Dameron and Sarah Vaughan for Musicraft and had a spell with Dizzy Gillespie.

1947 - 1948 was a very prolific spell for Leo who recorded for Savoy under his own name and also for various labels in groups led by Illinois Jacquet, Gene Ammons, Sir Charles Thompson, Fats Navarro, Dexter Gordon, J.J. Johnson and Russell Jacquet.

In January 1947, Leo featured on an Illinois Jacquet session for Aladdin, soloing on "Jivin' With Jack The Bellboy." You can hear that track on this LP - "Illinois Jacquet And His Tenor Sax" On the same LP Leo also solos on "For Truly" which was recorded in December 1947.

At the end of January 1947 Leo featured on a Fats Navarro Savoy session. In May and September he was with the Illinois Jacquet band for sessions on Apollo. During the summer of 1947 Leo was on a Sir Charles Thompson session for Apollo, featuring strongly on "Tunis In" and "Mad Lad." In September 1947 Leo was on a Gene Ammons Quintet session for Aladdin and on October 4th he recorded four tracks for Savoy under his own name - "El Sino," "Ineta," "Wild Leo" and "Leapin' Leo." The Savoy tracks are on this LP - "Gene Ammons - Red Top - The Savoy Sessions."

On December 11th 1947 Leo recorded three sides for Savoy with the Dexter Gordon Quintette - "Settin' The Pace," "So Easy" and "Dexter's Riff." These can be heard on the LP "Dexter Gordon Master Takes."

On December 19th 1947 Leo was with the Illinois Jacquet band for a Victor session. He solos on "Embroyo," "Mutton Leg" and "Symphony In Sid." These tracks are on the LP "King Jacquet."

In December 1947 Leo recorded sides for Savoy under his own name and also as part of a band led by J.J. Johnson. Leo was back for another Savoy session in March 1948. In May he was on a Russell Jacquet session for Sensation. You can hear two of these tracks on streaming audio on the post "Suede Jacket" / "Lion's Roar" which features two of the sides on a 78 rpm disc sent in by El Enmascarado.

You can also find these sides on the homemade compilation "Jump & Jive On 78 Volume 3."

In July 1950 Leo recorded for Prestige and in December of that year he recorded a session for Gotham as featured in this post! Only one single resulted from the Gotham session - "Woody" / "Rolling With Parker" (Gotham 262).

In July 1951 Leo recorded for Chess and in November of 1952 he cut a single for United - "Cool Leo" / "Leo's Boogie" (United 141) which you can find on the compilation LP "Screaming Saxophones Have A Ball."

Leo was back at Chess in August 1953. The effects of a long standing heroin addiction were badly affecting his career and his next session was not until July 1954 when he cut an LP with guitarist Bill Jennings for King - "Billy In The Lion's Den." In December of that year he recorded with Illinois Jacquet for Clef and then ill health took over, stopping his recording activity for nearly seven years.

In September and October of 1961 he had an all too brief comeback with Blue Note - recording two albums - "Let Me Tell You 'Bout It" and "Rollin' With Leo." The latter album was not released until 1980. He was scheduled to record a Blue Note LP with Dexter Gordon in early 1962 but in February of that year he died of a heart attack.

Sax Gill had three singles released on Gotham, but of the six sides, only one is on this LP in its original release take - "Dancer's Delight." The singles were -

"Drigo's Serenade" / "Bull Frog Bounce" (Gotham 192), released in September 1949.

"Snaperoo" / "Rhythm Fantasy" (Gotham 205), released in November 1949.

"Dancer's Delight" / "That's The Groovy Thing" (Gotham 217), released in January 1950.

For the Melvin "Sax" Gill story, read Dave Penny's notes on the cover of this LP.

If you follow all the links above you are now in a position to make up your own Leo Parker compilation. Have fun!

Leo Parker discographical information from

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Joe Turner and Pete Johnson - Jumpin' The Blues

Side 1:
01. Wine-O-Baby Boogie - Joe Turner
02. B & O Blues - Joe Turner
03. Rocket Boogie "88" Part 1 - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra
04. Old Piney Brown's Gone - Joe Turner
05. Baby, Won't You Marry Me - Joe Turner
06. Skid Row Boogie - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra

Side 2:
01. Christmas Date Boogie - Joe Turner
02. Radar Blues - Joe Turner
03. Tell Me Pretty Baby - Joe Turner
04. Rocket Boogie "88" Part 2 - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra
05. Trouble Boogie - Joe Turner
06. Half Tight Boogie - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra

When Big Joe Turner left Decca in 1944 having recorded a series of classic sides from November 1940 to October 1944, he couldn't have foreseen that he would spend nearly seven years hopping from label to label in the search for recording success. In 1945 and 1946 he was with National, in July 1947 he recorded a couple of sides for Imperial ("Ice Man Blues" and "Roll 'em Pete"). In November 1947 he recorded a version of "Around The Clock Blues" for Stag under the pseudonym Big Vernon and in the same month he had a session for Aladdin, and at the end of that month and in early December he had his final sessions for National.

At the end of 1947 he was recorded live at a Gene Norman promoted "Just Jazz" concert for RPM. The AFM recording ban brought a temporary halt to Joe's discographic wanderings, but when he resumed recording in June 1948, it was for yet another label, Jack Lauderdale's Down Beat which was renamed Swing Beat in October 1949 and then six months later Swing Time.

On June 28th, 1948, in Los Angeles, Joe Turner and his longtime collaborator, boogie pianist Pete Johnson, recorded eight sides for release on Down Beat. They were accompanied by what was essentially the Jay McShann band at that time. Personnel - Joe Turner (vocals) with: James Ross, Art Farmer (trumpets); Frank Sleet (alto sax); Pete Peterson (tenor sax); Milburn Newman (baritone sax); Pete Johnson (piano); unknown (guitar); Addison Farmer (bass) Robert Brady (drums).

Four singles were released from the session. Tracking down the original release dates of these singles has proved to be more difficult than usual and indeed there seems to be some contradiction in the information I found. For once I've failed to find label shots for all of the original discs, so I can't be sure of the original artist attribution on the first of these records. Anyway, here goes -

Down Beat 151 - Radar Blues / Trouble Blues presumably issued in 1948.

Down Beat 152 - Wine-O-Baby Boogie / B&O Blues - Joe Turner with orchestral accompaniment featuring Pete Johnson at the "88". This disc was reviewed in Billboard on 28th May 1949 and also featured in an ad in Billboard on 9th April 1949. The take of "B&O Blues" on this LP is probably a different take to the one issued on 78rpm single.

Down Beat 153 - Tell Me Pretty Baby / Christmas Date Boogie - Joe Turner's Orchestra with Pete Johnson at the "88". Release date unknown. Presumably before Christmas 1948. This disc was re-released on Swing Time 269 as "How D'Ya Want Your Rollin' Done" / "Christmas Date" in December 1951 and was credited to Joe Turner, with no mention of Pete Johnson.

Down Beat 154 - Baby Won't You Marry Me / Old Piney Brown's Gone - Joe Turner's Orchestra with Pete Johnson. "Old Piney Brown Is Gone" was number 10 in the Hot In New Orleans chart in The Cash Box magazine on October 9th, 1948. Either this disc was issued before Down Beat 152 or else "Wine-O-Baby Boogie" was issued earlier than the Billboard review and ad of 1949. It may be that all 4 Joe Turner discs were issued in the second half of 1948.

adapted from

In late 1948 or early 1949 (exact date unknown), Pete Johnson was back in the studio to record some sides for Down Beat, this time without Joe Turner but instead in the company of a group led by Maxwell Davis. Three singles were released from this session, two of which are on this LP. The missing single is Wrinkle House Boogie / Roadhouse Boogie (Swing Time 175).

Personnel - Jewell Grant (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Pete Johnson (piano); Herman Mitchell (guitar); Ralph Hamilton (bass); Jesse Sailes (drums).

Down Beat 168 - Skid Row Boogie / Half Tight Boogie - Pete Johnson Sextette. Released in February 1949. The single was featured in Billboard ads on the 12th February and 9th April 1949. "Skid Row Boogie" was number 4 in The Cash Box magazine's "Hot In Other Cities" chart for Merion, Pennsylvania, on March 19th, 1949.

Billboard, 12th February 1949

adapted from

Swing Time 169 - Rocket Boogie "88" Part I / Rocket Boogie "88" Part II - Pete Johnson. Probable release in November 1950. Reviewed in the "Hot Jazz" section of Billboard, 11th November 1950.

adapted from

"Rocket Boogie 88 - Part I" and "Rocket Boogie 88 - Part II" are virtually identical on this LP. It's possible that the "Part - II" issued on the original 78rpm single was a different track.

Joe Turner's label hopping continued after his Down Beat session. In the second half of 1948 he had two Los Angeles sessions for MGM in which he was backed by much the same band which featured in Pete Johnson's Down Beat session. He recorded two sides for the small Coast label with the same musicians in October 1948.

After a barren recording period which lasted most of 1949, he cut sides for Houston label Freedom in December 1949 and early 1950. The 1949 session was with Connie Johnson's band which included Joe Houston, Lonnie Lyons and Goree Carter, while the early 1950 session was backed by the Pluma Davis Orchestra.

April 1950 found Joe in New Orleans recording for Imperial with Dave Bartholomew's band. Joe was then without a recording contract for a year until April 1951 when he was signed by Atlantic. And the rest is history ...

Elsewhere On The Blog

That's all on Joe Turner for the moment. Once I get round to buying a new turntable I'll be able to add another LP with sides from Big Joe's pre-Atlantic years.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Have No Fear, Big Joe Turner Is Here (2LP)

Side 1:
01. SK Blues, Part 1
02. SK Blues, Part 2
03. Johnson And Turner Blues
04. Johnson And Turner Blues - Master
05. Watch That Jive
06. Howlin' Winds
07. Low Down Dog

Side 2:
01. I Got My Discharge Papers
02. Miss Brown Blues
03. I'm Still In The Dark
04. My Gal's A Jockey
05. I Got Love For Sale
06. Sunday Morning Blues
07. Mad Blues
08. Playboy Blues (aka It's A Low Down Dirty Shame)

Side 3:
01. I'm Still In The Dark
02. Miss Brown Blues
03. Sally Zu-Zazz
04. Rock Of Gibraltar
05. Milk And Butter Blues
06. That's When It Really Hurts
07. I'm Sharp When I Hit The Coast
08. New Wee Baby Blues

Side 4:
01. Nobody In Mind
02. Lucille Lucille
03. Rocks In My Bed
04. Careless Love
05. Last Goodbye Blues
06. Whistle Stop Blues
07. Hollywood Bed
08. Howlin' Winds

An excellent 2LP set containing everything Joe Turner recorded for National between February 1945 and December 1947. The gatefold sleeve has an excellent essay on Joe's life prior to his signing for National as well as a review of the sides on this collection. Warning - this is a larger than usual download as both discs plus artwork are contained in the Zip file. Be prepared for 186 rockin' megabytes.

Joe Turner's long career took him from the clubs of prohibition Kansas City to the Spirituals To Swing concert at Carnegie Hall in 1938 and onwards through the boogie woogie craze, the rise of R&B, and almost unbelievably when in his mid 40s to rock and roll. And when that turned to crap he simply went back to jazz and blues and kept ballin' and squallin' into the 1980s. Through it all he sounded much the same and quite a few of the songs were the same too. All that changed was the backing, and when he fetched up at Atlantic Records in 1951 he was given the best recording facilities and the best backing groups (usually produced and arranged by Jesse Stone), all of which brought him commercial success and a string of R&B hits.

The National sides, while not having the impact that his Atlantic sides would bring, were mostly very good indeed. The January 1946 sides featuring groups led by Wild Bill Moore are raucous but not as focused as the Atlantic material. If you're familiar with the Atlantic stuff and / or Joe's earlier oeuvre, quite a few of these tracks will sound familiar as earlier hits such as "Cherry Red, " "Careless Love" and "It's A Lowdown Dirty Shame" resurface, sometimes under new titles. And of course quite a few of Joe's songs consisted of familiar blues verses mixed into various concoctions. You know what you're going to get - and it's good. All killer, no filler!

Above: dapper Joe in 1944

Above: Joe's longtime collaborator Pete Johnson

Note - the Fax On The Trax section has the song titles as they were on the original releases on 78 rpm singles. Some titles on the LP track list are inaccurate. Joe Turner was never billed as "Big Joe Turner" on these releases. The actual artist attributions are also detailed below.

Fax On The Trax

Side 1, Tracks 1-5: S.K. Blues Part 1; S.K. Blues Part 2; Johnson And Turner Blues; Johnson And Turner Blues -master; Watch That Jive - recorded in NYC, February 2nd, 1945. Personnel: Joe Turner (vocals) with - Frank Newton (trumpet); Don Byas (tenor sax); Pete Johnson (piano); Leonard Ware (guitar); Al Hall (bass); Doc West (drums).

The second take of "Johnson And Turner Blues," labelled "master" on this collection is the released take (National 9011).

S.K Blues Part I / S.K. Blues Part II - Joe Turner with Pete Johnson's All Stars, released on National 9010, February, 1945.

Watch That Jive / Johnson & Turner Blues - Joe Turner with Pete Johnson's All Stars, released on National 9011, April, 1945

Side 1, Tracks 6 and 7: Howlin' Winds; Low Down Dog - recorded in Chicago, May 10th, 1945. Joe Turner with Dallas Bartley and his Small Town Boys. Personnel: Joe Turner (vocals) with - Bill Martin (trumpet); Flaps Dungee (alto sax); Josh Jackson (tenor sax); Pete Johnson (piano); unknown  (guitar); Dallas Bartley (bass); unknown (drums).

Howlin' Winds; Low Down Dog - not issued on singles.

Side 2, Tracks 1-5: I Got My Discharge Papers; Miss Brown Blues; I'm Still In The Dark; My Gal's A Jockey; I Got Love For Sale - recorded in Los Angeles, January 23rd, 1946. Personnel: Joe Turner (vocals) with - Warren Brocken (trumpet); Lloyd Harrison and Wild Bill Moore (tenor saxes); Al Williams (piano); Teddy Bunn (guitar); John "Shifty" Henry (bass); Alray Kidd (drums).

My Gal's A Jockey / I Got Love For Sale - Joe Turner with Bill Moore's Lucky Seven Band, released on National 4002, June 1946.

Rest of this session not released on singles.

Side 2, Tracks 6-8: Sunday Morning Blues; Mad Blues; Playboy Blues - recorded in Los Angeles, January 30th, 1946. Personnel - Joe Turner (vocals) with - Russell Jacquet (trumpet); Wild Bill Moore and Lou Simon (tenor saxes); Camille Howard (piano); Teddy Bunn (guitar); John "Shifty" Henry (bass); Walter Murden (drums).

Mad Blues / Sunday Morning Blues - Joe Turner with Bill Moore's Lucky Seven, released on National 4009, October 1946.

"Playboy Blues" was re-titled "It's A Lowdown Dirty Shame" and released on National 9099 b/w "Nobody In Mind" in January 1950.

Side 3, tracks 1-8 recorded in Chicago, tracks 1-4 (I'm Still In The Dark; Miss Brown BluesSally Zu-Zazz; Rock Of Gibraltar) recorded on October 11th 1946. Tracks 5-8 (Milk And Butter Blues; That's When It Really Hurts; I'm Sharp When I Hit The Coast; New Wee Baby Blues) recorded on October 12th 1946. Personnel on tracks 1-4: Joe Turner (vocals) with - Sonny Cohn (trumpet); Porter Kilbert or possibly Tab Smith (alto sax); probably Leon Washington (tenor sax); Albert Ammons (piano); Ike Perkins (guitar); Mickey Simms (bass); Theodore "Red" Saunders (drums).

Similar personnel on Side 3tracks 5-8, but Albert Ammons drops out, replaced by Rudy Martin (probably).

Miss Brown Blues / I'm Sharp When I Hit The Coast - Joe Turner And His Boogie Woogie Boys, released on National 4011, January 1947.

Rock O' Gibralter / Sally Zu-Zazz - Joe Turner And His Boogie Woogie Boys, released on National 4016, May 1947.

That's What Really Hurts / Whistle Stop Blues - Joe Turner and his Boogie-Woogie Boys, released on National 4017, April 1948.

Above: Billboard, April 1948

Hollywood Bed / New Oo-Wee Baby Blues - Joe Turner, released on National 9100 in February (?) 1950.

Still In The Dark / My Gal's A Jockey - Joe Turner, released on National 9106 in March 1950.

Side 4, Tracks 1-4 (Nobody In Mind; Lucille Lucille; Rocks In My Bed; Careless Love), recorded in Chicago on November 29th, 1947. Personnel: Joe Turner (vocals) with - Charles Gray (trumpet); Riley Hampton (alto sax); Otis Finch (tenor sax); Ellsworth Liggett (piano); Ike Perkins (guitar); Robert Moore (bass); James Adams (drums). 

Side 4, Tracks 5-8 (Last Goodbye Blues; Whistle Stop Blues; Hollywood Bed; Howlin' Winds) recorded in Chicago on December 9th, 1947. Personnel as November 29th session.

Lucille Lucille, Careless Love, and Last Goodbye Blues were not released on singles.

That's What Really Hurts / Whistle Stop Blues - Joe Turner and his Boogie-Woogie Boys, released on National 4017, April 1948.

It's A Lowdown Dirty Shame / Nobody In Mind - Joe Turner, released on National 9099, in January 1950.

Hollywood Bed / New Oo-Wee Baby Blues - Joe Turner, released on National 9100 in February (?) 1950.

Rocks In My Bed / Howlin' Winds - Joe Turner, released on National 9144 in April 1951.

The last Joe Turner release on National. By the time this ad ran he had signed to Atlantic

Elsewhere On The Blog

Joe Turner - Jumpin' Tonight is a Pathe Marconi collection of sides recorded for Aladdin in July and November 1947 and for Imperial in April 1950. Originally posted in October 2009.

Joe Turner - Jumpin' With Joe is a Charly collection of sides recorded for Atlantic from 1951 to 1958. Originally posted in October 2009.

More Joe Turner coming soon. Jump with joy!

Friday, 30 March 2018

Maxwell Davis - Father Of West Coast R&B (re-up)

Side 1:
01. Boogie Cocktails - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
02. Bristol Drive - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
03. Flying Home - Gene Phillips & His Orchestra
04. Royal Boogie - Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces
05. Resistor - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
06. Belmont Special - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
07. Jumpin' With Lloyd - Lloyd Glen & His All Stars

Side 2:
01. Thunderbird - Maxwell Davis & His Rock'n'Roll Orchestra
02. Cool Diggin' - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
03. Bluesville - Maxwell Davis & His Rock'n'Roll Orchestra
04. Rocking With Maxie - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
05. Tempo Rock - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
06. Gene Jumps The Blues - Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces
07. Boogie Cocktails - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra

Outstanding 1988 Ace LP of instros from the Modern / RPM stable presented in an attractive gatefold sleeve. This LP was originally posted on the blog in October 2009. For this re-up I've added label shots. The full gatefold which contains a very informative biographical article on Maxwell Davis by Ray Topping is included in the download.

It's now almost a cliche to say that Maxwell Davis is an unsung hero of rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll. He worked for a multiplicity of Los Angeles based record labels from the 1940's to 1970 in a variety of roles including tenor sax sideman'  arranger, producer and bandleader. The gatefold sleeve includes a long list of the R&B hits to which he contributed including "Safronia B." by Calvin Boze, "Please Send Me Someone To Love" by Percy Mayfield, "I Got Loaded" by Peppermint Harris, "Call Operator 210" by Floyd Dixon, and a whole heap o' hits by B.B. King and Amos Milburn.

Fax On The Trax, Jack

Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra - Los Angeles, circa November 1950. Personnel: Jake Porter (trumpet); Jack McVea (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Maurice Simon (baritone sax); Austin McCoy (piano); Chuck Norris (guitar); Red Callender (bass); Lee Young (drums):

Boogie Cocktail, Belmont Special, Resistor, Bristol Drive.

Boogie Cocktail / Belmont Special released on Modern 20-791 in January 1951.

Bristol Drive / Resistor released on Modern 20-805 in March 1951.

Maxwell Davis and his Rock and Roll Orchestra - Los Angeles , 1955. Personnel: Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); unknown others:

Thunderbird, Bluesville, Tempo Rock, Cool Diggin'.

Thunderbird / Bluesville released on RPM 449 in December 1955.

Above: The Cash Box, 17th December 1955

Tempo Rock / Cool Diggin' released on RPM 482 in December 1956.

Rocking With Maxie - unreleased mid 1950's track.

Gene Phillips And His Rhythm Aces - Los Angeles, 1948. Possible personnel: Gene Phillips (guitar); Jake Porter (trumpet); Marshall Royal (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Lloyd Glenn (piano); Arthur Edwards (bass); William Streets (drums).

Gene Jumps The Blues, Flying Home, Royal Boogie.

Gene Jumps The Blues unreleased.

Royal Boogie / Stinkin' Drunk released on Modern 20-586 in June 1948.

Flying Home -Bruyninckx lists its release on Modern 20-614, possibly in October 1948. I can find no other mention of such a release. This is the same track which was released in November 1951 as "New Flying Home" (RPM 332x45) with overdubbed crowd noise and credited to the "Lloyd Glenn All Stars featuring Maxwell Davis."

The B Side of RPM 332x45 was "Jumpin' With Lloyd" which also had overdubbed crowd noise, as can be heard on this LP. There has also been a release of this disc with both sides credited simply to "Maxwell Davis." "Jumpin' With Lloyd" was originally an unreleased Gene Phillips recording from 1947 / 1948 which was "transformed" into the Lloyd Glenn / Maxwell Davis instro with the addition of crowd noise and some echo.

Elsewhere On The Blog:

Maxwell Davis And His Tenor Sax:

A 1980's reissue of a 1950's Maxwell Davis Aladdin LP. The original article with background information on Maxwell and on the evolution of this LP through various reissues can be found here:

The LP can be downloaded from here:

or here:

Recommended purchase:

Triple CD set on the Fantastic Voyage label. Compiled by Dave Penny, CD1 has 31 tracks issued on various labels (Aladdin, Modern, Pacific, Down Beat, Miltone, etc) under Maxwell Davis' name. CD2 and CD3 contain tracks from the '40's and '50's on which Maxwell played, including records by Helen Humes, Charles Mingus, Jimmy Witherspoon, Calvin Boze, Jimmy Nelson and Percy Mayfield. The collection deliberately avoids the big R&B hits on which he played, opting instead for lesser known sides. Very highly recommended, especially if like me you're into the more obscure areas of West Coast R&B. There's a review of this set on the blog here:

Happy Easter, music fans.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Charlie Parker - The Complete Savoy Sessions Volume 2 (1945)

Side 1:
01. Billie's Bounce (takes 4 and 5) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
02. Now's The Time (takes 1, 2 and 3) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
03. Now's The Time (take 4) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
04. Thriving On A Riff (take 1) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
05. Thriving On A Riff (takes 2 and 3) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
06. Meandering - Charlie Parker's Reboppers

Side 2:
01. Koko (takes 1 and 2) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
02. Dizzy Boogie (take 1) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
03. Dizzy Boogie (take 2) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
04. Flat Foot Floogie (take 1) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
05. Flat Foot Floogie (take 2) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
06. Popity Pop (take 2) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
07. Slim's Jam - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra

"The Complete Savoy Sessions Volume 2" continues with the rest of the NYC session from the 26th November 1945 which brought Volume 1 to a close. This was the session which gave us "Ko Ko" and "Now's The Time." The latter track would be the unacknowledged basis for the huge R&B hit "The Hucklebuck."

At the end of 1945 Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker took a band to California for an engagement at Billy Berg's nightclub in Hollywood. On December 29th 1945 Bird and Diz joined the resident band at Berg's, the Slim Gaillard Trio, along with Dodo Marmarosa and Jack McVea for a light hearted recording session for the small Bel-Tone label. There were two reworkings of the Gaillard warhorse "Flat Foot Floogie" and an equally mad "Popity Pop (Goes The Motorsickle)." The final track from the session, "Slim's Jam," is a wonderfully relaxed piece of nonsense in which everyone is obviously enjoying themselves.

Alas, for Charlie Parker dark clouds were gathering as his heroin addiction spiraled out of control. "Lowlights" of his stay in California included signing away half of all his royalties to a heroin dealer, selling his return ticket to NYC for money to buy more heroin and thus ending up stranded, and wandering naked through his hotel lobby before setting his room on fire. In August 1946 he was committed to Camarillo State Hospital. But let us return to that "Now's The Time" session ...

So here we are in the WOR Studios, NYC, on the 26th of November 1945 where under the supervision of Teddy Reig, Charlie Parker is recording his first session as leader. With him are 3 members of his regular group - 19 year old Miles Davis on trumpet, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums. He had also asked Thelonius Monk and then Bud Powell to play piano on the session but neither could make it, so Sadik Hakim was the pianist. Also along was Dizzy Gillespie with whom Charlie had an acrimonious split back in July. That split was the end of the first great bebop group, the Gillespie - Parker combo. Diz formed a short lived big band for a tour of the southern states while Charlie kept a small combo going with Miles Davis coming in on trumpet.

Miles had arrived in New York from St Louis in September 1944, ostensibly to study music at Juilliard, but mainly to contact Bird and Diz with whom he had become acquainted during his brief spell filling in on trumpet with the Billy Eckstine band in St Louis in August 1944. Every night after classes at Juilliard Miles would head for the 52nd Street clubs or else uptown to Minton's in search of the elusive duo, eventually hooking up with them after a few weeks. Soon the young Miles was being invited to join the Minton's jam sessions by Parker and Gillespie. In May 1945 he had his first recording session (with Herbie Fields) and around the same time had a regular nightclub gig on 52nd Street with a group led by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis.

When Bird was looking for a new trumpet player following the departure of Dizzy in July 1945, he naturally thought of Miles and the new band started playing at the Three Deuces in August. Dizzy returned for the Savoy session on 26th November, prepared to play both piano and trumpet if necessary. It may be that the pair got together again for the session as they had an upcoming gig at Billy Berg's club in Hollywood, Berg having stipulated that the offer was only open to a group which included both Parker and Gillespie.

Miles was aware of his own limitations at this time and felt unable to perform on "Ko Ko", a Parker composition based on "Cherokee" which he always had trouble playing, so Dizzy played trumpet on that track. Here's a summary of who played what on the tracks -

Charlie Parker (alto sax), Curly Russell (bass) and Max Roach (drums) on all tracks. Miles Davis trumpet on "Billie's Bounce," "Now's The Time" and "Thriving On A Riff." Dizzy Gillespie trumpet and piano on "Ko Ko," piano on "Warming Up A Riff," "Billie's Bounce," "Now's The Time" and "Meandering." Argonne Thornton (Sadik Hakim) piano on "Thriving On A Riff."

Single release of tracks:

"Billie's Bounce" / "Now's The Time" on Savoy 573 in February 1946. ("Billie's Bounce" take 5 and "Now's The Time" take 4)

"Ko Ko" was released as the B-Side of "How High The Moon" by the Don Byas Quintette on Savoy 597 in April 1946. ("Ko Ko" take 2)

"Thriving From A Riff" (note title change) was credited to "The Be Bop Boys" and released as the B-Side of "Opus De Bop" by "The Be Bop Boys featuring Stan Getz, tenor sax." ("Thriving On A Riff" take 3)

"Warming Up A Riff" / "Thriving On A Riff" released on Savoy 945. "Warming Up A Riff" credited to "Charlie Parker and the Be Bop Boys." "Thriving On A Riff" credited to "The Be Bop Boys." ("Warming Up A Riff" only take; "Thriving On A Riff" take 3).

"Meandering" first released on LP Savoy MG 12079, "The Charlie Parker Story," in 1956.

The following group, under the leadership of Dizzy Gillespie, headed west to Dreamland to fulfill a near two month engagement at Billy Berg's club in Hollywood: Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Milt Jackson (vibes); Al Haig (piano); Ray Brown (bass) and Stan Levey (drums). They opened on Monday 10th December. On Saturday 29th December the band had a live recording for the AFRS "Jubilee" show scheduled, but earlier in the day Diz and Bird dropped in on a session being held by the resident band at Billy Berg's, the Slim Gaillard Trio. The sides were recorded for a small and short lived Hollywood label called Bel-Tone Records.

Above: Slim, Zutty and Bam at Billy Berg's, 1945

The regular trio of Slim Gaillard (guitar and vocals), Bam Brown (bass) and Zutty Singleton (drums) were joined by Dodo Marmarosa (piano), Jack McVouty (tenor sax and shout of "open up the door, Richard!"), Charlie Yardbird Orooney (alto sax) and Daz McSkivens Vouts Orooney (trumpet).

Original releases:

"Dizzy Boogie" / "Popity Pop" by the Slim Gaillard Orchestra released on Bel-Tone 753 ("Dizzy Boogie" take 2).

"Flat Foot Floogie" / "School Kids Hop" by The Slim Gaillard Orchestra released on Bel-Tone 758 ("Flat Foot Floogie" take 2)

"Slim's Jam" / "Santa Monica Jump" by The Slim Gaillard Orchestra released on Bel-Tone 761.

"Santa Monica Jump" and "School Kids Hop" were from a January 1946 session on which the Slim Gaillard Trio were joined by Howard McGhee, Marshall Royal, Lucky Thompson and Dodo Marmarosa.

Above: Bird at Berg's, 1945

Above: Berg's - Bird strung out, Diz not happy. Camarillo beckons

Recommended reading:

"Bird's Diary - The Life of Charlie Parker 1945 - 1955" by Ken Vail. Castle Communications, 1996.

"Miles - The Autobiography" by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe.Picador, 2012.

"Bird Lives! - The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker" by Ross Russell, Quartet Books, 1976.