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Charlie Parker November 23, 1947

genre: bop
Recording Date: 
1947 - 1948
Label Name: 
Private Recording on acetate
Charlie Parker
alto saxophone
Miles Davis
Charlie Parker
Duke Jordan
Tommy Potter
Max Roach
Ensemble Size: 
Venue Type: 
live performance
Venue Name: 
Argyle Lounge
Venue Location: 
Chicago, Illinois
Session Details: 

There is some controversy about this session's dates. Although both Burton & Sutherland list the date in the title, there is a chance at least some of the tracks occurred in late 1948. Also, according to Burton, some sources suggest that there were two tracks of 'The Way You Look Tonight', and those sources list an alleged CD where the other track appears. However, apparently there is no such track on that CD, so the only version of the song in this session is the Miles Davis solo that is listed here. -JS


Another confusion between Burton & Sutherland (jazzdisco.org doesn't even list this session) is similar to the Dean Benedetti recordings. They aren't as specific (Burton & Sutherland), it seems clear that these tracks are just Charlie Parker Solos, which Burton does indicate. This makes sense considering how short some of the tracks are. It's strange, though, because they still list a couple tracks as being "Incomplete" which raises the question of what the difference between a recording of just Parker's solo and an 'incomplete' recording of Parker's solo would be. Is the solo cut off in the latter pieces? Furthermore, track 23 in Sutherland is listed as Miles playing alone, but judging from Burton, I think what they mean is it's Miles playing over the rhythm section, without Parker. -JS

Regarding the track "Home Sweet Home", we are assuming this is the classic 19th century tune by Bishop and Payne. searches online through allmusic and google show NO instances where Charlie Parker covers anything with this title, and the only two songs with this title are the traditional 19th century, and a song by a modern rock band. -JS

"Unknown Rhythm Tune" is a strange situation: does "rhythm" in the title refer to only the rhythm section playing? That could make sense, except that that would mean Parker doesn't solo--if it's just the rhythm section playing. -JS

Related to the issue of fragments versus incomplete "just solos": a couple tracks are described as playing "into" the following. If these are indeed just fragments of Bird's solos, how can we know that these tracks that bleed into another aren't fragments of a medley? For our purposes, we won't assume they are part of a medley, but jdisc doesn't differentiate when a track bleeds into another without the band stopping. For posterity, the tracks are "Home Sweet Home" playing into the first take of "Wee", the first take of "Be-Bop" into "Fifty-Second Street Theme", and the second take of "On a Slow Boat to China" into "Embraceable You". The weird thing about this is that, for example, with Bebop/Fifty-Second Street Theme, the latter "track" is only 0:07 long. Since musicians quote themes in the middle of solos, how we even know this is a completely different song and not just Charlie Parker playing the theme of 52nd Street Theme for seven seconds? This is all kind of unclear and the tracks must be listened to fully to get to the bottom. -JS


Regarding the various takes, again in most cases (where we are dealing with a full session of full songs) one take would be considered the master and one the alternate. Since these are just the snippets of the song where Parker solos, we are in the same situation with the Benedetti tapes: without either discographer saying otherwise, how do we know that these solos were from separate takes? How do we know they aren't solos from the same take, just cut up and separated? Without knowing that, we cannot call one a master and one an alternate, so we will say nothing. -JS


Burton believes there is a possibility these tracks were performed/recorded January 3-6, 1948 at the Pershing Ballroom. -JS

discographies of Allan Sutherland and John Burton, both of which can be found at birdlives.co.uk