Charlie Parker: Ornithology




Charlie Parker (alto sax)


Best of the Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings (Savoy SVY 17120)

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Charlie Parker (alto sax), Miles Davis (trumpet), Lucky Thompson (tenor sax), Dodo Marmarosa (piano), Vic McMillan (bass), Roy Porter (drums),

Arvin Garrison (guitar)


Composed by Charlie Parker & Benny Harris


Recorded: Hollywood, March 28, 1946


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Charlie Parker's 1946 Hollywood stay was personally disastrous, culminating in arrest and six-month commitment to a state mental hospital. From the perspective of his music, however, the months before his meltdown stand out as an unforgettable period. "Ornithology" (based on the chords to "How High the Moon") is a bebop high point. Bird is in fine fettle, and a cup-muted Miles shows increasing self- confidence. Lucky Thompson is an overlooked and under-recorded musician who helped budge the tenor sax from its Swing Era complacency. As for guitarist Garrison, he plays a mere 22 notes on the entire 3-minute track. Not a bad deal: immortality for 22 notes.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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