Various: The Birth Of Bop

Reissue of box of five 10" LPs is an exact replica of the late 40s issue on Savoy and contains a wealth of long unavailable material


This opulent and robust box of five 10″ LPs (30 tracks) is an exact replica of the Savoy issue from the late 40s, right down to the inclusion of the spelling mistakes that appeared on the original. It’s a lovely set to own, and nearly all of the tracks have been unissued for many years. Additionally they are of a very high standard of creativity.

The birth of bop? Well, most of the bands by that definition are toddlers already and the line of excellent pianists in the new medium are beyond the chewing of rusks stage. Someone like Bud Powell, as one of the creators of bop, is particularly eloquent and his six appearances rightly place the emphasis on his seniority (his best solo is probably on Jay Bird, his first appearance in the set).

It’s good to hear Clyde Hart, always one of the most inventive of the contemporary moderns, playing so well, whilst Hank Jones and Al Haig remain modestly careful in what they do. Milt Jackson seems to have popped out fully formed, but then his tracks were, at 1949, years later than the rest. Allen Eager, described by Lester as “the best of the grey boys”, never recorded enough and with his feather-light Prez touch, his work throughout is another delight.

The big surprise to me is Leo Parker, who always seems to me to have been a mere adjunct to the boppers. Here he comes into his own and is revealed as an outstanding baritone man, with a couple of his solos here being ones that Carney could be proud of.

Despite Dexter Gordon’s huge subsequent output I find his Dexter’s Minor Mad (done when he was 22) and his two other tracks, where he has the advantage of Bud Powell leading the superlative section, to be amongst the most enjoyable of his work. Grey boys Getz and Chaloff were heading towards their best at this point – their tracks are rightly amongst the most familiar.

The lively Lockjaw tracks were originally listed under his name, but when Fats Navarro died, three years before the collection was issued, they were cynically renamed as being led by him with Jaws deposed. Like all the tracks in the box they’re exhilarating. It’s surprising that they’ve managed to lie undisturbed for more than 70 years. Their resurrection is devoutly to be welcomed.

LP1: (1) Romance Without Finance; (2) Dexter’s Minor Mad; (3) Jay Bird; (4) Hearing Bells (5) Chase ‘N’ The Lion; (6) Stan’s Mood (17.13)
LP2: (7) Hollerin’ And Screamin’; (8) Church Mouse; (9) Always; (10) Byas A Drink; (3) Jay Jay; (11) Long, Tall Dexter (22.07)
LP3: (12) Little Benny; (3) Mad Be Bop; (4) Bubu; (13) Solitude; (14) Don’t Worry ’Bout Me; (7) Maternity (16.41)
LP4: (15) Donald Jay; (16) Saxon; (17) Dee Dee’s Dance; (3) Coppin’ The Bop; (4) Junior; (11) Dexter Digs In (16.07)
LP5: (8) Unmeditated; (13) The Lion’s Roar; (7) Stealin’ Trash; (18) Pete’s Beat; (19) Pumpernickel; (20) Blowin’ For Kicks (16.53)

(1) Charlie Parker (as); Clyde Hart (p); Tiny Grimes (g, v); Jimmy Butts (b); Doc West (d). NYC, 15 September 1944.
(2) Dexter Gordon (ts); Sadik Hakim (p); Gene Ramey (b); Eddie Nicholson (d). NYC, 30 October 1945.
(3) JJ Johnson (tb); Cecil Payne (as); Bud Powell (p); Leonard Gaskin (b); Max Roach (d). NYC, 26 June 1946.
(4) Milt Jackson (vib); Bill Massey (t); Billy Mitchell (ts); Julius Watkins (frh); Walter Bishop Jr. (p); Nelson Boyd (b); Roy Haynes (d). NYC, 23 February 1949.
(5) Leo Parker (bar); Joe Newman (t); Sir Charles Thompson (p); Al Lucas (d); Jack Parker (d). Detroit, 23 March 1948.
(6) Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn (ts); Earl Swope (tb); Duke Jordan (p); Jimmy Raney (g); Mert Oliver (b); Charlie Perry (d). NYC, 2 May 1949.
(7) Fats Navarro (t); Eddie Lockjaw Davis (ts); Al Haig (p); Huey Long (g); Ramey (b); Denzil Best (d). NYC, 18 December 1946.
(8) Allen Eager (ts); Doug Mettome (t); George Wallington (p); Leonard Gaskin (b); Stan Levey (d). NYC, 6 November 1947.
(9) Kai Winding (tb); Shorty Rogers (t); Getz (ts); Shorty Allen (p); Iggy Shevak (b); Shelly Manne (d). NYC, 14 December 1945.
(10) Don Byas (ts); Benny Harris (t); Jimmy Jones (p); John Levy (b); Fred Radcliffe (d). NYC, 26 November 1945.
(11) Gordon (ts); Leonard Hawkins (t); Bud Powell (p); Curley Russell (b); Roach (d). NYC, 29 January 1946.
(12) Benny Harris (t); Budd Johnson, Herbie Fields (ts); Clyde Hart (p); Chuck Wayne (g); Oscar Pettiford (b); Denzil Best (d). NYC, 19 December 1944.
(13) Leo Parker (bar); Joe Newman (t); Johnson (tb); Gordon (ts); Hank Jones (p); Russell (b); Shadow Wilson (d). NYC, 19 December 1947.
(14) Getz (ts); Hank Jones (p); Russell (b); Roach (d). NYC, 31 July 1946.
(15) Eager (ts); Terry Gibbs (b); Duke Jordan (p); Russell (b); Roach (d). NYC, 15 July 1947.
(16) Kai Winding (tb); Eager (ts); Marty Napoleon (p); Eddie Safranski (b); Manne (d). NYC, 22 January, 1947.
(17) Johnson (ts); Harris (t); Fields (as); Hart (p); Wayne (g); Oscar Pettiford (b); Denzil Best (d). NYC, 19 December 1946.
(18) Roy Porter (d); Art Farmer, James Metlock, Eddie Preston, Bob Ross (t); Danny Horton, Jimmy Knepper, William Wilmington (tb); Leroy Robinson, Eric Dolphy (as); Joe Howard, Clifford Solomon (ts); Clyde Dunn (bar); Joe Harrison (p); Ben White (g); Roger Alderson (b); Alvin Kidd (cga). Los Angeles, 1948 or 1949.
(19) Serge Chaloff (bar); Red Rodney (ts); Earl Swope (tb); George Wallington (p); Russell (b); Tiny Kahn (d). NYC, 5 March 1947.
(20) Morris Lane (ts); Ed Swanston (p); George Blake (g); Frank Skeete (b); Bob Aviles (d). NYC, 24 January 1947.
Savoy CR00590