Bob Dorough: Yardbird Suite / Charles Yardbird Parker was his Name

After spending six formative months performing in Paris, Bob Dorough returned to New York in 1955 just weeks before the death of his idol and friend Charlie Parker. Inspired by the vocalese of Annie Ross, King Pleasure, and Eddie Jefferson, Dorough wrote lyrics for Parker's classic "Yardbird Suite" and recorded this knowing tribute, which has remained prominent in his wide repertoire to this day.

Dorough enthusiastically vocalizes the well-known theme, and also sings breezy lyrics to Bird's solo, a sort of encapsulated telling of the ups and downs of the great bop innovator, both a summation and a shout out to the uninitiated. Imagine a multi-noted phrase like "His improvisation was miraculous" set to a boppish rhythmic pattern. Trumpeter Fitzgerald then offers a searching solo, followed in order by Hitchcock's intricate vibes, Dorough in a percussive piano style similar to Eddie Costa's, and Takas's bass, absorbingly expressive as usual.

November 12, 2008 · 0 comments


Warne Marsh: Yardbird Suite

Listening to any member of the Tristano School play a Bird/Diz/Monk standard is always a fascinating representation of the alteration of jazz styles. This track is certainly no exception, and right after an ordinary yet swinging statement of the melody, Marsh is off and running with his vertically improvised lines played mostly in the upper register. Marsh is in a playful mood here and leaves a bit more breathing room than on many of his other extended-line improvisations. Of special note is Marsh's polyrhythmic solo break and his bold playing after bassist Paul Chambers's solo.

May 06, 2008 · 0 comments


Claude Thornhill: Yardbird Suite

Once the Swing Era expired like a lapsed subscription to The Saturday Evening Post, many big-name bandleaders became bopycats. Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Woody Herman, Artie Shaw and even King of Swing Benny Goodman jumped on the bebop bandwagon. For his part, pianist Claude Thornhill tinkled amiably along to Gil Evans's arrangement of Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite." It's a remarkable chart, with an especially distinctive solo by Lee Konitz—seemingly oblivious to Bird's otherwise pervasive influence. Even so, there's no mistaking bop's overall impact. Within two years of its 52nd-street debut and Diz & Bird's first great recordings, bop ruled the roost.

November 23, 2007 · 0 comments


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