Thursday, December 22, 2005

When bop was young - part one...

Bop was, of course, a quick hit – from the days of 78 rpm records and their inherent time restrictions. This helped to give it a compressed feel, a sprawling essence that had originally poured out on countless rehearsals, jams and all night sessions at places like Mintons – or in musicians' homes – to be taken into the studio and finely distilled into the record form of the time. I will start of this on-going sequence with some early stuff, two Dexter Gordon tracks, starting with one from 1944 with Nat Cole and Harry Edison. Dexter made the transition from swing to bop fairly quickly and easily – but these two early tracks show the 30's roots still preponderant – the second one is a fascinating mix between Buck Clayton and Bird with Dexter somewhere in the middle. Listening to this sequence, one should be able to detect the moves and jumps forward – some fluid evolution, some maybe more startling. Oo bop sh'bam... The rhythm sections show this especially – by the time Fats Navarro was recording these tracks, the drummers were playing the new rhythms essential to bop's flourishing. More asap...

Dexter Gordon:


I found a new baby
(Los Angeles 1943: Harry Edison – Trumpet/Dexter Gordon – Tenor/Nat King Cole – Piano/Johnny Miller – Bass/Unknown – Drums).

If I had you
(New York 1945: Buck Clayton – Trumpet/Charlie Parker – Alto/Dexter Gordon – Tenor/Sir Charles Thompson – piano/Danny Barker – guitar/Jimmy Butts – Bass/J.C. Heard – Drums).

Fats Navarro:

Our Delight
(New York 1947: Fats Navarro – Trumpet/Ernie Henry – Alto/Charlie Rouse – Tenor/Tadd Dameron – Piano/Nelson Boyd – Bass/Shadow Wilson – Drums).

Nostalgia ( New York 1947: Fats Navarro – Trumpet/Charlie Rouse – Tenor/Tadd Dameron – Piano/Nelson Boyd – Bass/Art Blakey – Drums).

Lady Bird
(New York 1948: Fats Navarro – Trumpet/Allen Eager, Wardell Gray – Tenors/Tadd Dameron – Piano/Curley Russell – Bass/Kenny Clarke – Drums/Chano Pozo – bjo?).

Dexter Gordon/Fats Navarro

The only place I have found all these tracks together is on a rather expensive set - but it's a massive collection, tending more to swing than bop but very good. (The collection I have is on an obscure label that I can't find a link for). These tracks can also be found fairly easily on Dexter and Fats (and Tadd Dameron) compilations of which there are legion... plenty of relatively cheap bebop retrospectives out there...


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