Charlie Parker: Cherokee




Charlie Parker (alto sax)


Charlie Parker: A Studio Chronicle (1940-1948) (JSP 915)

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Charlie Parker (alto sax),

Efferge Ware (guitar) Little Phil Philips (drums)


Composed by Ray Noble


Recorded: Kansas City, probably circa 1941/1942 (some sources believe it was recorded in September 1943 or 1944)


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Five months after Count Basie recorded "Cherokee" in 1939, Charlie Barnet covered it and wound up with a massive hit. By the early 1940s, Kansas City swing bands were using the tune to showcase soloists’ chops and stamina. In Jay McShann’s band, that task fell to Parker, who would improvise effortlessly on chorus after chorus. This demo recording of "Cherokee" was likely made at a Kansas City music store sometime during the American Federation of Musicians’ recording ban of 1942-1944. As Bird imaginatively weaves in and out of the song’s melody line, you literally hear bebop being born.

Reviewer: Marc Myers

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