Charlie Parker: A Night in Tunisia (1946)
A Night in Tunisia
Charlie Parker (alto sax)
Best of the Complete Savoy & Dial Studio Recordings (Savoy SVY 17120)
Composed by Dizzy Gillespie.
Recorded: Radio Recorders, Hollywood, March 28, 1946
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Charlie Parker's alto break on his Dial recording of "A Night in Tunisia" lasts only seven seconds -- but it may be the most important jazz moment of the decade. The whole bebop revolution is crammed into this break: the off-the-cuff virtuosity, the rhythmic displacements, the defiance of pop music expectations, and, above all, the declaration of bebop as a progressive artistic movement in which such radical gestures possessed their own intrinsic validity. This is shock-and-awe jazz, and it sounds just as breathtaking today as it did back in 1946. The song continues after this extraordinary moment -- indeed, the solos have just started -- but everything now is anticlimactic. Bird has just shown how far ahead he is of everyone else in the studio, including Miles Davis (age 19), who has the unenviable job of following the alto solo. A remarkable performance even by the Everest-high standards set by Parker in his earlier work.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia