Chico O'Farrill, an important Latin jazz pioneer, achieved success as a bandleader, composer and arranger. O'Farrill was also a trumpet player, and this extended composition features that instrument - and was recorded several times, including versions with Clark Terry and Dizzy Gillespie as the soloist. This recording, overseen by Norman Granz for Verve Records, captures O'Farrills band at the pinnacle of its sound in the early 1950s. In addition to work with his own band, O'Farrill is responsible for many arrangements played by the Machito, Gillespie and Kenton bands. The "Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite" is one of O'Farrill's masterpieces.
Chico O'Farrill: Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite
Mario Bauza (trumpet), Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Buddy Rich (drums), Machito (maracas), Rene Hernandez (piano), Jose Mangual (percussion).
Recorded: December 21, 1950
From 1947 to 1951 Parker performed in ensembles and solo at a variety of venues, including clubs and radio stations. Parker also signed with a few different record labels during his later career. From 1945 to 1948 he recorded for Dial. In 1948, he recorded for Savoy Records before signing with the Mercury label.
In 1949, Parker made his European debut at the Paris International Jazz Festival, and went on to visit Scandinavia in 1950. Meanwhile, back home in New York, the Birdland Club was being named in his honor. In March of 1955, Parker made his last public performance at Birdland, a week before his death.
Charles "Charlie" Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as "Yardbird" and "Bird", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.
Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and improvisation. Parker introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas, including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber. Many Parker recordings demonstrate his virtuoso playing style and complex melodic lines, sometimes combining jazz with other musical genres, including blues, Latin, and classical.
Parker acquired the nickname "Yardbird" early in his career and the shortened form, "Bird", which continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspired the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology", "Bird Gets the Worm", and "Bird of Paradise."
Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual, rather than an entertainer.
By 1950, much of the jazz world had fallen under Parker's influence. Many musicians transcribed and copied his solos. Legions of saxophonists imitated his playing note-for-note. In response to these pretenders, Parker's admirer, the bass player Charles Mingus, titled a tune "Gunslinging Bird" (meaning "If Charlie Parker were a gunslinger, there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats") featured on the album Mingus Dynasty. In this regard, he is perhaps only comparable to Louis Armstrong: both men set the standard for their instruments for decades, and few escaped their influence.