ARKADIA JAZZ ALL-STARS: Thank You, Bird! – Our Tribute to Charlie Parker

Catalog # 70006

UPC # 602267000627

 

ARKADIA JAZZ ALL-STARS
George Shearing: piano; Moscow Sax Quintet: Sax; Vladimir Zaremba: Sax Billy Taylor: Piano;

T.K. Blue: Alto sax; Stefon Harris: Vibes; James Weidman: Piano; Gavin Fallow: bass:

Lenny Robinson: drums; Neil Swainson: bass; Mark Murphy: vocals; Bill Mays: piano; Monty Budwig: bass; Charles Harris: drums;

 

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The “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars” is a group established in 1996 as the brainchild of Bob Karcy, Producer, musician, Founder and CEO of Arkadia Records. Karcy’s original goal was to harness the creative brilliance of the Artists on its Arkadia Records labels, along with select guest musicians representing some of Jazz’s biggest stars, to create an unparalleled series of newly recorded, thematically unified studio albums. So far, ten albums have been recorded and three more are in production. The Arkadia Jazz All-Stars albums have been honored with three Grammy Award Nominations.

 

The Arkadia Jazz All-Stars, featuring a lineup of stellar artists, have come together to pay tribute to the legendary Charlie “Bird” Parker. Each musician was tasked with reinterpreting some of Parker’s most iconic compositions, infusing them with their own artistic flair.

The album includes standout tracks like “You’ve Proven Your Point (Bongo Bop),” a prime example of bebop brilliance, characterized by intricate rhythms and a captivating melody. This particular piece showcases the late Mark Murphy, a master of vocalese, whose performance bridges the gap between jazz and hip-hop with his rapid-fire vocal delivery. Murphy’s rendition highlights his exceptional ability to interpret the complex musicality of bebop, making it a highlight of this commemorative project.

 

Bob Karcy’s ultimate aim is that the Arkadia Jazz All-Stars, in addition to creating new, exciting and stellar music, would emerge as an artistically successful recording group on its own, and serve as a showcase for the Artists on Arkadia Records, allowing them to create awareness and recognition, and helping our Artists expand beyond their hard core fans.

Song Selection:

1.Yardbird Suite MOSCOW SAX QUINTET
2. Donna Lee GEORGE SHEARING:
George Shearing, piano; Neil Swainson, bass
3. Parker’s Mood MARK MURPHY, BILL MAYS, MONTY BUDWIG, CHARLES HARRIS:
Mark Murphy, vocals; Bill Mays, piano, Monty Budwig, bass; Charles Harris, drums
4. Bloomdido MOSCOW SAX QUINTET
5. Bluebird (Blue’s Bird) T.K. BLUE:
T.K. Blue, alto sax; Stefon Harris, vibes; James Weidman, piano; Gavin Fallow, bass: Lenny Robinson, drums
6. Chasing the Bird MOSCOW SAX QUINTET
7. Early Bird BILLY TAYLOR
Billy Taylor, piano
8. You’ve Proven Your Point (Bongo Bop) MARK MURPHY, BILL MAYS, MONTY BUDWIG, CHARLES HARRIS:
Mark Murphy, vocals; Bill Mays, piano, Monty Budwig, bass; Charles Harris, drums
9. Parker’s Mood MOSCOW SAX QUINTET
10. Moose the Mooch GEORGE SHEARING:
George Shearing, piano; Neil Swainson, bass
11. Donna Lee MOSCOW SAX QUINTET

 

About Charlie Parker:

Charlie Parker was a pioneering jazz saxophonist and composer, famous for his role in founding the innovative Bebop style of jazz in the early 1940s. Parker was nicknamed “Bird” or “Yardbird” by his fellow musicians.

Charlie Parker was born on August 29, 1920, in Kansas City, Kansas, and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Parker started playing alto saxophone in a school band, and grew to love the instrument. He dropped out of High School and started playing professionally in local night clubs at the age of 15.

Charlie Parker got a chance to play with one of his favorite bands, Count Basie’s Orchestra in 1936 during a jam session but he was kicked off the stage by one of the band members for failing to impress the audience with his improvisation. Parker used the incident as inspiration to practice and was later asked to join a local traveling band.

Parker, like many jazz musicians, played with numerous bands and eventually traveled to New York in 1939 when he made his breakthrough with the development of a new sound that would become known as Bebop. He continued to travel and work with other jazz greats, such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, who helped develop and promote his sound.

Unfortunately, Charlie Parker’s music career was short-lived due to his addiction to drugs and alcohol. He died in 1955 at the age of 34. Charlie Parker has been recognized by numerous institutions, such as the Grammys, for his influence on jazz and other art forms. There are still music festivals in New York and Kansas City dedicated to Charlie Parker every year.

About Moscow Sax Quintet:

Founded in 1987 by Vladimir Zaremba, a professor at the Moscow Philharmonic Society; he and the group grew up steeped in the American Jazz tradition through the famous ‘Voice of America’ radio broadcasts. The Moscow Jazz Quintet consists of five saxophonists along with a rhythm section that play a variety of reed instruments such as Soprano Sax, Alto Sax, Baritone Sax, Tenor Sax, Clarinet, and Bass Clarinet, in a style that critics have described as highly refined Jazz music

About The Songs:

Parker’s Mood

Charlie Parker recorded “Parker’s Mood” in New York City on September 18, 1948. The other musicians for the Savoy Records session were pianist John Lewis, bassist Curley Russell, and drummer Max Roach. Parker “varies the phrasing and motivic relatedness of the opening melodic idea in each take”. The tempo across the takes varies from 65 quarter notes to 87.

“Parker’s Mood” is a B♭ blues. “The introduction begins on G minor […] The feature then proceeds to C minor, which […] suggests i–iv in G minor (or v–i in C minor).” Then, from the third bar, “the rhythm section begin a four-bar chord progression that establishes B♭ major through a tritone substitution of each chord of a vi–ii–V progression with major-seventh chords as the vi substitute (D♭M7) and the ii substitute (G♭M7)”

Vocalese lyrics were later written and recorded by King Pleasure and Eddie Jefferson.

The song, described by Jazz historian Ted Gioia as a “bittersweet lament as deep a statement of the blues as exists in the jazz tradition” became a jazz standard, widely performed by various artists.

Donna Lee

“Donna Lee” was first recorded by the Charlie Parker All-Stars on May 8, 1947, with Charlie Parker on alto sax, Miles Davis on trumpet, Bud Powell on piano, Tommy Potter on bass and Max Roach on drums. While Charlie Parker was originally credited as the composer, his contracts usually called “for the record company to purchase rights to all the original compositions he recorded. Thus, if one happened to be written by a sideman, it was still likely to be credited to the bandleader.” In 1947 Gil Evans called Charlie Parker for permission to arrange the song for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra and was referred to Davis, who gave permission. This is, therefore, Davis’ first recorded composition. Based on chord changes to the song “Indiana” by James Hanley, this A-flat major composition features extremely rapid successions of four-note groups over each change with rising and falling arpeggios.

 

Blue Bird

The song “Blue Bird” was written by Charlie Parker, and was first released by Charlie Parker Quintette in 1949. The song has been admired by various artists over the years. Here’s how Rudresh Mahanthappa, a renowned jazz saxophonist described hearing “Blue Bird” for the first time: “There was a completeness to it. It has the balanced quality of all the great art that I really love. It’s as much intellectual as it is soulful, it speaks to sorrow and it speaks to joy, with an undertone of compassionate humor. There’s something so human about what Charlie Parker does.” In this version T.K. Blue gives a unique performance of the tune, putting his own melodic spin on the melody.

Yardbird Suite

The song’s title, Yardbird Suite, refers to Charlie Parker’s nickname, “Yardbird,” which was later shortened to “Bird.” This nickname was given to Parker due to his fascination with his pet canary during his childhood. Beyond the playful nickname, the song itself embodies the essence of bebop, a subgenre of jazz that emerged in the 1940s. Bebop is characterized by intricate melodies, complex harmonies, and improvisation, and Yardbird Suite beautifully represents these elements. With its upbeat tempo and lively rhythm, Yardbird Suite transports listeners to a world of joy and excitement.

Yardbird Suite is considered a jazz classic. It has been covered by Gil Evans, Bud Powell, Max Roach, and Gene Krupa.

Moose the Mooch

“Moose the Mooche” is a bebop composition written by Charlie Parker in 1946. Parker had been a long time heroin addict and some historians suggest that the song was named after the drug dealer, Emry “Moose the Mooche” Byrd, who sold him drugs for several years before being arrested.

Parker recorded it in Los Angeles for Dial on March 28, 1946, as the Charlie Parker Septet, accompanied by Miles Davis, Lucky Thompson and Dodo Marmarosa, who were performing with Parker at the Finale Club, Vic McMillan,  Arvi Garrison and Roy Porter.

This composition is in the key of B-flat and has a 32-bar AABA structure. The chord progression is based on the “I Got Rhythm” changes and makes extensive use of the ii-V-I turnaround. Typical of many bebop compositions, “Moose the Mooche” is played at a fast tempo (Quarter Note = 224).

Over the years the song has gained considerable fame and has become a bebop standard. Among the artists that have covered it are Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Hank Jones, Joshua Redman, Jay Thomas, Phish, Sadao Watanabe, and Stevie Wonder.

Chasing the Bird

Charlie Parker’s original composition “Chasin’ the Bird” was was first recorded by Parker’s quintet, which contained Parker (alto saxophone), Miles Davis (trumpet), Bud Powell (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), and Max Roach (drums). The recording session was in New York City on May 8, 1947, for Savoy Records. “Chasin’ the Bird” is an unusual composition for Parker. Its theme “contains two simultaneous and interlocking melodies played contrapuntally by alto and trumpet.” The structure is AABA and the harmony is based on that of “I Got Rhythm”, in the key of F. The song has become a jazz standard, and is widely covered by jazz musicians.

About The Arkadia Jazz All-Stars:

The Arkadia Jazz All-Stars is a group established in 1996 as the brainchild of Bob Karcy, Producer, musician, Founder and CEO of Arkadia Records. Karcy’s original goal was to harness the creative brilliance of the Artists who recorded on its Arkadia Records labels, along with select guest musicians representing some of Jazz’s biggest stars, to create an unparalleled series of newly recorded, thematically unified studio albums. So far, ten albums have been recorded and three more are in production.

These Arkadia Jazz All-Stars releases have been honored with three Grammy Award Nominations.


The “Thank You” Series – Tributes to the most revered artists in the history of Jazz:

The first “Thank You” Series was created to honor the memory and the lasting legacy of many of the greatest and most esteemed artists in the history of Jazz.

The initial album in the “Thank You” series is entitled “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: Thank You, John! – Our Tribute to John Coltrane” (Grammy Nominated for “My Favorite Things” by David Liebman).

This was followed by “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: Thank you. Duke! – Our tribute to Duke Ellington”.

The Lead All-Star Members of these two albums are: Benny Golson, Billy Taylor, T.K. Blue, Joanne Brackeen, Nova Bossa Nova, and Joris Teepe.

The Supporting Members performing with them are: Mulgrew Miller, Buster Williams, Carl Allen, Eric Reed, Rodney Whitaker, Mike LeDonne, Vic Juris, Steve Nelson, Terrell Stafford, Ira Coleman, and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez.

Appearing as Special Guests are: Randy Weston, Don Braden, Chris Potter, Claudio Roditi, Bob Mintzer, David Hazeltine, Bruce Cox, and Harold Land.

Next on the agenda were new tribute albums to Joe Henderson (“Thank You, Joe! – Our Tribute to Joe Henderson”) and Gerry Mulligan (“Thank You, Gerry! – Our Tribute to Gerry Mulligan”). For “Thank You Joe!”, Karcy and Musical Directors Eric Reed and Carl Allen put together an ensemble including Randy Brecker, Terrell Stafford, Steve Nelson, Rodney Whitaker with special guest, Joanne Brackeen.

For “Thank You, Gerry!” (Grammy Nominated for “My Funny Valentine” by Randy Brecker), Karcy and Musical Director, Ted Rosenthal enlisted jazz legends Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Randy Brecker, with Javon Jackson, Dean Johnson and Ron Vincent, all of whom performed with Gerry Mulligan’s band.


Thematic Albums:

The next series of albums were conceived as thematically-driven group collections of outstanding singles, representing the best-of-our-best.

The first two albums, “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: The Stars of Jazz #1” (Grammy Nominated for “Body and Soul” by Branford Marsalis) and “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: The Stars of Jazz #2” (Grammy Nominated for “My Favorite Things” by David Liebman), present the most highly recognized artists, including Joanne Brackeen, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Lee Konitz, Branford Marsalis, Billy Taylor, Randy Weston, Gary Bartz, and Nat Adderley.

The “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: The New Young Lions of Jazz” showcases the next generation of rising stars on the Jazz horizon, including James Carter, Don Braden, Chris Potter, Javon Jackson, Ravi Coltrane, Eric Reed, Stefon Harris, Nicholas Payton, Steve Turre, and Kurt Elling.

The “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: Out and Out Jazz” captures inventive performances on the cutting edge of modern and free jazz, both fully composed and improvised. This album showcases John Abercrombie, Paul Bley, Joanne Brackeen, John Clark, Andrew Hill, David Liebman, Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Gary Peacock, Sam Rivers, and Reggie Workman.

Everyone has known love, and that emotion is beautifully expressed in “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: It’s About Love”, a new album of heartfelt romantic ballads, performed by Benny Golson, Nigel Clark, Joanne Brackeen, T.K. Blue, Mary Pearson, Billy Taylor, Kenny Drew, Jr., Eric Reed. It includes the stunning Grammy Nominated “My Funny Valentine” by Randy Brecker.


Arkadia Records continues to create new releases from the Arkadia Jazz All-Stars. Albums currently in production are tributes to Thelonious Monk (“Thank You, Thelonious!”) and Miles Davis (“Thank You, Miles!”), as well a suite of lively standards and compelling original songs for the holiday season.


Bob Karcy’s ultimate aim is that the Arkadia Jazz All-Stars will emerge as an artistically successful recording group in its own right. In addition to creating new, exciting and stellar music, the All-Stars will showcase the Artists on Arkadia Records, creating greater awareness and recognition of their talent, and helping them reach a new generation of listeners far beyond their core fans.

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