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10 May 2022

(Until 10 May)

Charlie Parker: Diligent Practice Creates New Style – Phantom Dancer 10 May 2022

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Charlie Parker is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. Charlie Parker was an influential alto sax soloist and key in the development of bebop. He said that he spent three to four years practicing up to 15 hours a day in the mid-1930s. And it was while practicing and experimenting on his alto sax in 1939 that he created his unique sound.

The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 10 May) and two years of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

TAKING THE KNOCKS

Parker said that he spent three to four years practicing up to 15 hours a day in the mid 1930s

Bands led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten certainly influenced Parker. He played with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, Missouri, where he perfected his technique, with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time influenced Parker’s developing style.

In late spring 1936, Parker played at a jam session at the Reno Club in Kansas City. His attempt to improvise failed when he lost track of the chord changes. This prompted Jo Jones, the drummer for Count Basie’s Orchestra, to contemptuously take a cymbal off of his drum set and throw it at his feet as a signal to leave the stage.

Rather than discouraging Parker, the incident caused him to vow to practice harder, and turned out to be a seminal moment in the young musician’s career.

BEBOP

One night in 1939, Charlie Parker was playing “Cherokee” in a practice session with guitarist William “Biddy” Fleet when he hit upon a method for developing his solos that enabled one of his main musical innovations.

He realized that the 12 semitones of the chromatic scale can lead melodically to any key, breaking some of the confines of simpler jazz soloing.

He recalled: “I was jamming in a chili house on Seventh Avenue between 139th and 140th. It was December 1939. Now I’d been getting bored with the stereotyped changes that were being used all the time at the time, and I kept thinking there’s bound to be something else. I could hear it sometimes but I couldn’t play it … Well, that night I was working over ‘Cherokee’ and, as I did, I found that by using the higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes, I could play the thing I’d been hearing. I came alive.”

STYLE

Parker’s style of composition involved interpolation of original melodies over existing jazz forms and standards, a practice known as contrafact and still common in jazz today. Examples include “Ornithology” (which borrows the chord progression of jazz standard “How High the Moon” and is said to be co-written with trumpet player Little Benny Harris), and “Moose The Mooche” (one of many Parker compositions based on the chord progression of “I Got Rhythm“).

The practice was not uncommon prior to bebop, but it became a signature of the movement as artists began to move away from arranging popular standards and toward composing their own material. Perhaps Parker’s most well-known contrafact is “Koko,” which is based on the chord changes of the popular bebop tune “Cherokee,” written by Ray Noble.

While tunes such as “Now’s The Time”, “Billie’s Bounce“, “Au Privave“, “Barbados”, “Relaxin’ at Camarillo”, “Bloomdido“, and “Cool Blues” were based on conventional 12-bar blues changes, Parker also created a unique version of the 12-bar blues for tunes such as “Blues for Alice“, “Laird Baird”, and “Si Si.” These unique chords are known popularly as “Bird Changes“. Like his solos, some of his compositions are characterized by long, complex melodic lines and a minimum of repetition, although he did employ the use of repetition in some tunes, most notably “Now’s The Time”.

Parker contributed greatly to the modern jazz solo, one in which triplets and pick-up notes were used in unorthodox ways to lead into chord tones, affording the soloist more freedom to use passing tones, which soloists previously avoided. Parker was admired for his unique style of phrasing and innovative use of rhythm.

Other well-known Parker compositions include “Ah-Leu-Cha“, “Anthropology”, co-written with Gillespie, “Confirmation”“Constellation”, “Moose the Mooche“, “Scrapple from the Apple” and “Yardbird Suite“, the vocal version of which is called “What Price Love”, with lyrics by Parker.

Miles Davis once said, “You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker”.

10 MAY PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINECommunity Radio Network Show CRN #544

107.3 2SER Tuesday 10 May 2022
12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT) and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 6 -7pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Tuesday 12am – 1am
2SEA Eden Tuesday 6 – 7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturdays 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm

Set 1
1930s Swing Radio
Sugar Foot Stomp
Benny Goodman Orchestra
Madhattan Room
Pennsylvania Hotel
WOR Mutual NYC
21 Oct 1937
They Say
Artie Shaw Orchestra (voc) Helen Forrest
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln
WABC CBS NYC
1 Dec 1938
Study in Blue
Larry Clinton Orchestra
Coconut Grove
Hotel Park Central
WEAF NBC Red NY
7 Jul 1939
Shine on Harvest Moon
Artie Shaw Orchestra
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln
WABC CBS NYC
1 Dec 1938
Set 2
Ted Fio Rito
Theme + The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
Vincent Valsanti aka Ted Fio Rito Orchestra
Cocoanut Grove
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1934
Blue Danube Waltz
Vincent Valsanti aka Ted Fio Rito Orchestra
Cocoanut Grove
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1934
Your Head on My Shoulders
Vincent Valsanti aka Ted Fio Rito Orchestra (voc) Jack Howard
Cocoanut Grove
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1934
Carioca + Theme
Vincent Valsanti aka Ted Fio Rito Orchestra
Cocoanut Grove
Radio Transcription
Los Angeles
1934
Set 3
1935-41 Paris Radio
Radio Cite ID + Open + C’est Gentil
Ray Ventura et ses Collegiens
Poste Parisien
1935
Swing Festival ’41
Django Reinhardt, Aime Barelli, Alix Combelle and more
Radio Paris
26 Dec 1940
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes + All I Do The Whole Day Through Is Dream of You + Close
Guy Berry + Charlotte Duvier & Charles Trenet
‘Le Enfante Terrible’
Poste Parisien
1935
Set 4
Charlie Parker
Cool Blues
Charlie Parker
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WCOP Boston
1954
Interview
Charlie Parker
‘Symphony Sid Show’
Hi Hat Club
WCOP Boston
1954
Scrapple From the Apple
Charlie Parker
‘Symphony Sid Show’
WCOP Boston
1954
Interview + Out of Nowhere + Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid
Charlie Parker
‘Symphony Sid Show’
Hi Hat Club
WCOP Boston
1954
Set 5
1950s Swing
Open + Opus #1
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra
Cafe Rouge
Statler Hotel
WRCA NBC NYC
Dec 1955
Moonlight in Vermont
Claude Thornhill Orchestra (voc) Patty Ryan
‘One Night Stand’
Steel Pier
Atlantic City NJ
AFRS Re-broadcast
19 Jun 1955
Jackpot
Harry James Orchestra
Aragon Ballroom
WMAQ NBC Chicago
20 Jun 1954
Four Brothers
Woody Herman Octet
Blue Room
Hotel Roosevelt
WWL CBS New Orleans
10 Dec 1951
Set 6
1939 -1943 Radio Transcriptions
History of Music
Horace Heidt Orchestra (voc) Horace Heidt
Radio Transcription
1943
It’s a Hundred to One
Johnny Messner Orchestra (voc) Jeanne D’arcy and Trio
Radio Transcription
1939
I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now?
Horace Heidt Orchestra (voc) Horace Heidt
Radio Transcription
1943
Day In, Day Out + Can’t We Be Friends (theme)
Johnny Messner Orchestra
Radio Transcription
1939
Set 7
1929 Radio
Blue Melody Blues
Tiny Praham Orchestra
Comm Rec
Chicago
1 Feb 1929
Am I Blue + Liza
Dixie Two-Steppers
Radio Transcription
1929
Harvey
Hoagy Carmichael and The Hotsy Totsy Gang
‘Brunswick Brevities’
Radio Transcription
Oct 1929
Royal Garden Blues + Close
Ray Miller Orchestra
‘Sunny Meadows’
Radio Transcription
Chicago
Jan 1929
Set 8
1950s-60s Jazz radio
High Falutin’
Gene Krupa Trio
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
13 Mar 1959
Seventh Heaven
Oscar Pettiford
Birdland
WABC ABC NYC
26 May 1957
I Want a Little Girl + Bernie’s Tune
Charlie Shavers
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
May 1962
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12:04 pm - 2:00 pm
2SER 107.3 Sydney
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