Various: Bebop Pioneers And Classic Performances, 1941-1949

Varied three-CD collection includes some classics but its comprehensive purview shows bebop wasn't just about Parker and Gillespie

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The idea of programming the tracks chronologically is a good one and the history flows accordingly from Christian, Clyde Hart and Gillespie’s first appearance alongside Hawk, Webster and Chu in Hampton’s classic swing record. This is a well-thought-out programme that illustrates the appearance of new boppers between stops at the all-time classics by Gillespie, Parker and Powell.

The first disc is mainly very good mainstream graced by Webster’s exquisite Kat’s Fur with Johnny Guarnieri, the Goodman sextet and a chunk of Topsy, that we used to know as Swing To Bop by the magnificent Christian, confirmed here as an early, confident and complete bebopper. Hawkins also knew his way around the new music and throughout the album there are several examples of his early outposts, including, of course, his riff tune Stuffy. Buck Clayton also held his own in the Sir Charles All Stars, blowing happily alongside Bird, as he did to more expansive effect with JATP (not included here).

Parker’s authority in any surroundings is complete and his every appearance, from his first with Tiny Grimes, shines like a beacon. Byas and Dexter are accorded their status as giants and Lester pops up throughout the set to veer between swing and bop with unfailing swing. There’s emphasis on the often overlooked Navarro, a bebop master to stand alongside Diz and Bird and big band stuff is accounted for by Diz, Gil Evans (two Claude Thornhills and one 1949 Miles Capitol) and Woody Herman.

Our old friends the Metronome All Stars, previously sounding hackneyed, here appear as refreshing. You could argue that Monk wasn’t bop, but whatever, refreshing is the word for his excellent tracks here, whilst another great thinker, Tadd Dameron, makes a rare appearance in the 21st century.

Bop turned out ultimately to be a long-lived and rewarding idiom. If, disastrously, we’re about to lose the CD form, then it’s appropriate that a chunk of jazz history like this should form one of its last forays.

Veteran collectors will probably have at least half of these tracks, but may feel the set is worth it for the other half.

Discography
CD1: (1) Hot Mallets; (2) Solo Flight; (3) Good Enough To Keep; (4) Topsy (Swing To Bop); (5) Woody’n You; (6) Kat’s Fur; (7) Tiny’s Tempo; (8) Flying Hawk; (9) Opus X; (10) Stuffy; (11) Salt Peanuts; (12) Hot House; (13) Loverman; (14) The Street Beat; (15) Blue And Sentimental; (16) Blow Mr Dexter; (17) KoKo; (18) Now’s The Time; (19) Jammin’ With Lester; (20) Long, Tall Dexter; (21) Boyd Meets Stravinsky; (22) Second Balcony Jump; (23) Anthropology; (24) Spotlite (71.59)
CD2: (1) Allen’s Alley; (2) That’s Where I Came In; (3) Night In Tunisia; (4) Yard Dog; (5) Oop Bop Sh’Bam; (6) Mad Bebop; (7) Opus De Bop; (8) Lester’s Bebop Boogie; (9) Royal Roost; (10) 52nd Street Theme; (11) Fat Boy Pt 1 & 2; (12) Hesitation Blues; (13) Midnight At Minton’s; (14) Goin’ To Minton’s; (15) Just Coolin’; (16) Boppin’ The Blues; (17) Donna Lee; (18) Cheryl; (19) Babik; (20) The Chase; (21) Milestones; (22) Little Willie Leaps (69.58)
CD3: (1) Dameronia; (2) Thelonious; (3) Scrapple From The Apple; (4) Donna Lee; (5) Midnight Sun; (6) ’Round Midnight; (7) Bop!; (8) Bebop Romp; (9) Half Step Down, Please; (10) Yardbird Suite; (11) How High The Moon; (12) Leap Here; (13) Keen And Peachy; (14) Four Brothers; (15) Manteca; (16) Epistrophy; (17) Stealin’ Apples; (18) Symphonette; (19) Tin Tin Deo; (20) Boplicity; (21) Bud’s Bubble; (22) Off Minor; (23) Sonny Boy; (24) Twisted (78.08)

CD1: (1) Lionel Hampton. 11 September 1939. (2) Benny Goodman Orchestra. 4 March 1941. (3) Benny Goodman Sextet. 13 March 1941. (4) Charlie Christian. 12 May 1941. (5) Coleman Hawkins Orchestra. 16 February 1944. (6) Ben Webster Quartet. 17 April 1944, (7) Tiny Grimes Quintet. 15 September, 1944. (8) Coleman Hawkins Quartet. 19 October 1944. (9) Billy Eckstine Orchestra. 5 December 1944. (10) Coleman Hawkins Orchestra. 23 February 1945. (11) Dizzy Gillespie Quintet. 11 May 1945. (12) as (11). (13) as (11) plus Sarah Vaughan (v). (14) Sir Charles Thompson All Stars. 4 September 1945. (15) Don Byas All Stars. 3 October 1945. (16) Dexter Gordon All Stars. 30 October 1945. (17) Charlie Parker’s Re-boppers. 26 November 1945. (18) as (17). (19) Lester Young Band. 18 January 1946. (20) Dexter Gordon Quintet. 29 January 1946. (21) Boyd Raeburn Orchestra. 5 February 1946. (22) Billy Eckstine Orchestra. February 1946. (23) Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. 22 February 1946. (24) Coleman Hawkins 52nd Street All Stars. 27 February 1946.
CD2: (1) as CD1 (24). (2) Mel Tormé & The Mel-Tones. 19 March 1946. (3) Charlie Parker Septet. 28 March 1946. (4) Roy Eldridge Orchestra. 7 May 1946. (5) Dizzy Gillespie Sextet. 15 May 1946. (6) JJ Johnson’s BeBoppers. 26 June 1946. (7) Stan Getz Quartet. 31 July 1946. (8) Lester Young Quintet. August 1946. (9) Kenny Clarke 52nd Street Boys. 5 September 1946. (10) as (9). (11) Fats Navarro Be-Bop Boys. 6 November 1946. (12) Mary Lou Williams Trio. 7 October 1946. (13) Howard McGhee Sextet. 18 October 1946. (14) Fats Navarro & His Thin Men. 29 January 1947. (15) Lester Young Band. 2 April 1947. (16) Lucky Thompson Lucky Seven. 22 April 1947. (17) Charlie Parker All Stars. 8 May 1947. (18) as (17). (19) Django Reinhardt Quintet. 21 May 1947. (20) Miles Davis All Stars. 14 August 1947.
CD3: (1) Tadd Dameron Sextet. 26 September 1947. (2) Thelonious Monk Sextet. 15 October 1947. (3) Charlie Parker Quintet. 4 November 1947. (4) Claude Thornhill Orchestra. 6 November 1947. (5) Lionel Hampton Orchestra. 10 November 1947. (6) Thelonious Monk Quintet. 21 November 1947. (7) Red Norvo Septet. 28 November 1947. (8) Fats Navarro Quintet. 5 December 1947. (9) Coleman Hawkins All Stars. 11 December 1947. (10) Claude Thornhill Orchestra. 17 December 1947.) (11) Ella Fitzgerald. 20 December 1947. (12) Metronome All Stars. 21 December 1947. (13) Woody Herman Orchestra. 24 December 1947. (14) as (13). (15) Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. 30 December 1947. (16) Thelonious Monk Quartet. 2 July 1948. (17) Benny Goodman Septet. 9 September 1948. (18) Tadd Dameron Septet. 13 September 1948. (19) James Moody Modernists. 25 October 1948. (20) Miles Davis Orchestra. 22 April 1949. (21) Bud Powell Trio. August 1949. (22) as (21). (23) Mel Tormé. 26 August 1949. (24) Wardell Gray Quartet. 11 November 1948.
Acrobat ACTRCD9113