Sir Charles Thompson, Charlie Parker, Buck Clayton, Dexter Gordon, etc.: Takin' Off
Sir Charles Thompson, Charlie Parker, Buck Clayton, Dexter Gordon, etc.
Takin' Off (Delmark 450)
Danny Barker (guitar), Jimmy Butts (bass), J.C. Heard (drums).
Composed by Sir Charles Thompson.
Recorded: New York, September 4, 1945
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
From a Delmark album comprising three recording sessions for the Apollo label from 1945 and 1947, this title track is from the interesting 1945 session with Charlie Parker (“Bird”), 22 year old Dexter Gordon, and Buck Clayton mixing it up with Sir Charles Thompson on piano and a good rhythm section. That section included guitarist Danny Barker, who was born in New Orleans in 1909 and comes from the original jazz tradition there. With Clayton from the center of the swing era and modernist Parker, this track effectively spans the history of jazz—with the music they’re playing movin’ it into the Bop era.
Using a catchy, recognizable musical theme line, Sir Charles, Bird, Buck & co. achieve a sound reminiscent of what Dizzy, Bird and their preeminent Bop band produced in the second half of the ‘40s, well and clearly articulated here. The theme is strikingly stated by the ensemble, with Bird and Buck in the forefront. Then Thompson plays a nice piano break, followed by a scintillating trumpet solo by Clayton, which starts a section alternating the trading of licks and duet phrases between him and Parker that sparkles. Here swing trumpet master Buck Clayton shows he can hold his own with Parker in Bop mode. (One complaint: The bass seems a little over-mic’ed on this track.)
Reviewer: Dean Alger