Charlie Parker – Relaxin’ at Camarillo (1947)

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In December 1945, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker made history by bringing the frenetic sounds of bebop—then primarily an underground scene for in-the-know musicians—from the East to the West Coast for a two-month residency at Billy Berg’s Hollywood jazz club. It was the beginning of a harrowing and occasionally productive two year-stint for Parker bumming around L.A., showing up at jam sessions, crashing on people’s couches, causing havoc in public places (like stripping naked an walking through the lobby of the Civic Hotel downtown), and once in a while standing still for recording dates.

Dope sick from his prodigious heroin habit, Parker could barely function on the lightweight skag circulating along Central Avenue; called “mud,” it was a ghastly concoction of unrefined opium with twigs and dirt still in it. He took to drinking gallons of cheap wine and popping or smoking anything that came his way. Local fan Ross Russell, owner of the Tempo Music Store on Hollywood Boulevard, was a bebop fanatic; he started Dial Records in 1946 specifically to record Parker’s music.

“Relaxin’ at Carmarillo” – Considering the genesis of this tune—Parker wrote it while playing in the Camarillo State Hospital jazz band—this is one of Bird’s airiest and most relaxed performances. That’s L.A. guitarist Barney Kessel on the solo.

Miles Davis, Robert Glasper ft. Erykah Badu – Maiysha (So Long) (2016)

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“I think Miles would’ve loved Erykah,” pianist and producer Robert Glasper told Rolling Stone recently, during a conversation about Everything’s Beautiful, an upcoming album on which he reworked snippets of Miles Davis’ studio recordings to create entirely new tracks. One of the highlights of the release, which stemmed from Glasper’s soundtrack work for Don Cheadle’s audacious Davis biopic, Miles Ahead, is a simmering bossa nova version of “Maiysha” – a song originally released on 1974’s Get Up With It – featuring lead vocals from Erykah Badu.

Duke Ellington – La Plus Belle Africaine (1967)

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Soul Call is a 1967 live album by Duke Ellington and his orchestra, recorded live at the Juan-les-Pins/Antibes Jazz Festival on the Côte d’Azur. Ella Fitzgerald appeared with Ellington and his band at the same festival, and a more complete version of Ellington’s appearance at the festival is documented on the 1998 album Ella and Duke at the Cote D’Azur.



La plus belle Africaine…wow!

A photo posted by Gilles Peterson (@gillespeterson) on

Miles Davis Quintet – Walkin (1965)

Walkin Appears on “The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965” (Columbia Legacy 1995). It is originally written by R. Carpenter.

Played live at the Plugged Nickel, First Set December 23, 1965 by:

Miles Davis – Trumpet / Wayne Shorter – Tenor Saxophone / Herbie Hancock – Piano / Ron Carter – Bass / Tony Williams – Drums.

Research for a Wayne Shorter biography revealed that drummer Tony Williams, during the plane ride to Chicago, challenged the rest of the band to play anti-jazz, in essence sabotaging the gig by playing whatever one wished rather than the standard versions. The band kept to the challenge, and the tunes were then radically altered for the Plugged Nickel performances. [source]

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Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus – Stormy Weather (1960)

At this time Mingus was working regularly with a piano-less quartet featuring Eric Dolphy, Ted Curson and Dannie Richmond, as heard on the Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus album also recorded in November 1960. The Mingus album features one track, “Stormy Weather”, recorded by the same quartet, plus two tracks recorded by a larger group featuring piano and additional horns. [source]

Charles Mingus – Bass
Eric Dolphy – Alto sax
Ted Curson – Trumpet
Dannie Richmond – Drums

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