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.

Art Tatum – The Man I Love (1949)

Recorded live in the spring of 1949, at the “Just Jazz” concert, presented by Gene Norman at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA. From the album Piano Starts Here released first time in 1968.

There are many Art Tatum records available, but this is the one to pull out to amaze friends, particularly with Tatum’s wondrous version of “Tiger Rag,” during which he sounds like three pianists jamming together. This CD consists of Tatum’s first studio session as a leader (which resulted in “Tea for Two,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Tiger Rag,” and “Sophisticated Lady”) and a remarkable solo concert performance from the spring of 1949. While “Tiger Rag” dwarfs everything else, the live set is highlighted by a very adventurous, yet seemingly effortless exploration of “Yesterdays,” a ridiculously rapid “I Know That You Know,” and the hard-cooking “Tatum Pole Boogie.” This is an essential set of miraculous music that cannot be praised highly enough. [source]

Art Tatum – Piano

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[dedicated the man I love]