Monday, July 11, 2011
The king of the alto saxophone played a King. So proclaims this ad from an old Metronome magazine. Of course, jazz fans know that Bird's horn was often a thing of the moment – if not a King, than any alto that was available, including – once in Toronto – a white plastic marching band horn. It didn't seem to matter what Charlie Parker used to play his music – the result was always the same. Genius.
But Bird didn't always play alto. With Earl Hines in 1942 he held down the tenor chair. To disguise his sound for contractual reasons, he also played the bigger horn on a date with Miles Davis in 1953 for Prestige. And here's Bird at an unknown club date some fifteen months before his tragic passing, soloing on tenor.
Two Charlies indeed!