♡ BIRD Release Day Streams 8.29.2021

Bird's 101st birth anniversary is August 29, 2021, which also happens to be the release date for <3 Bird, a recording of original compositions and arrangements inspired by Charlie Parker. 

In light of the occasion, I'll be presenting four streaming sets of music that night with myself, Max Light on guitar, Christian Li on piano, Walter Stinson on bass, and Matt Honor on drums. You can watch them below on Sunday the 29th and anytime after as well. I hope you enjoy the streams and the album.

7:00 PM ET, Set 1: Obscure Bird

Set list & notes:

I. “Bongo Bop” & “Bongo Beep” (1947)

Recorded in New York City in October and December 1947 for the Dial label, “Bongo Bop” and “Bongo Beep” are two 12-bar blues lines in C. Both feature a Latin-tinged feel, and we merge the lines in our interpretation.

II. Charlie’s Wig (1947)

Recorded at the same session as “Bongo Beep,” “Charlie’s Wig” is based on the harmony of “When I Grow Too Old to Dream,” a 1934 pop song by Sigmund Romberg (composer of “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise” and “Lover, Come Back to Me”).

This composition is unique in Bird’s oeuvre having an introduction figure played by the horns.

III. Quasimodo (1947)

“Quasimodo” was also recorded at the same December 17, 1947 session as the preceding songs and is an elegant line over the harmony of Gershwin’s “Embraceable You.”

IV. Cardboard (1949)

Recorded in March 1949, “Cardboard” is based on “Don’t Take Your Love From Me.” The original recording features three-horn harmony and bongos, which we reduce to a quartet format here.

V. Passport (1949)

The song titles from Charlie Parker’s May 5, 1949 recording session were mixed up due to discographical issues, but the song known as “Passport” is an ingenious and at times abstract rendering of rhythm changes. 

Given the nature of the melody, our interpretation embraces a freer approach to form.

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7:45 PM ET, Set 2: Originals (I)

Set list & notes:

I. “Schaaple from the Appel”

This takes the introduction from Bird’s “Scrapple from the Apple” as the basis for a new song. The title also pays homage to Charlie Parker expert and 2021 NEA Jazz Master Phil Schaap.

II. “Salt Peanuts”

Although this was composed by Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Clarke, the piece is associated with Parker, who played it with his working band. We play the original arrangement with a few notes taken out and added here and there.

III. “Greenlit”

Parker’s “Confirmation” is among his finest and most intricate compositions. In a Bird-like move, I use the harmony of the original song as a template for a new melody here.

IV. “Duona Li”

The bebop standard “Donna Lee” is generally credited to Miles Davis, but Parker recorded the original version in 1947. It was named after bassist Curley Russell’s daughter, while my tune is a tribute to pianist Christian Li, a wizard of extended harmony.

V. “Talck-overseed-nete”

Charlie Parker’s most obscurely named composition is “Klacto-veered-stene.” Nobody really knows what it means, but I loved drummer Max Roach’s inventive 5-beat pattern on the original recorded and decided to arrange the piece around that idea.

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8:30 PM ET, Set 3: Classic Bird

Set list & notes:

I. “Yardbird Suite”

This is among Charlie Parker’s earliest compositions, which was originally titled “What Price Love?” and had lyrics penned by Bird himself. This song is the basis for “Dovetail” on the album <3 Bird.

II. “Donna Lee”

A romp over the chord changes of “(Back Home in) Indiana” named after the bassist Curley Russell’s daughter.

III. “Dewey Square”

Named after the hotel where Bird lived for about a year upon moving back to NYC in spring 1947 from LA, this is the inspiration for “Du Yi’s Choir.”

IV. “Dexterity”

This iconic rhythmic changes melody was recorded in the fall of 1947. I used the accent pattern of the melody as a framework for improvisation on “Adroitness.”

* * * * *

9:15 PM ET, Set 4: Originals (II)

Set list & notes:

I. “Du Yi’s Choir”

A send-up of “Dewey Square,” this uses the rhythmic crosscurrents of the introduction from the original as a basis for the song.

II. “Onomatopoeia”

The movement known as “Be-Bop” is itself onomatopoeic, and this minor up-tempo song mashes up that song as well as Parker’s “Segment.”

III. “Big Foot”

A blues by Bird known by various titles including “Air Conditioning” and “Giant Swing,” this arrangement stretches out a the melody and adds a long, striding bass line.

IV. “Adroitness”

Parker’s “Dexterity” re-arranged in two parts: slow melody and fast, angular blowing.

V. “Dovetail”

Perhaps the most abstract take on Parker from <3 Bird, this uses his solo improvisations from “Yardbird Suite” as the source of new, vaguely tonal counterpoint.