Saturday, August 29, 2009


"Listen to Hawkins beautiful solo: primarily developed from melodic ideas, with very little exploration of harmony. Also, dominated by sixteenth notes (which, at a faster tempo, would be dotted eighth/sixteenth combos). Swing.

Listen to Bird: primarily harmonic exploration, using extended chords and chromaticism. 16th note melodic ideas punctuated by 32nd-note runs, skating over the groove instead of inside of it. Mostly based on the underlying chord structure with only a cursory nod to melody, yet still bluesy as all hell. Bop.

No value judgment here, but if you listen to these two solos enough, you'll easily hear the difference between pre-bop and what Louis Armstrong called "Chinese Music."

This is one of two surviving sound films of Charlie Parker playing (and certainly the longest; the other is only 52 seconds long). Until recently, this film was a rumor, and only still photos of it existed.
" ken james

a history lesson & a music lesson combined.

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