Monday, July 11, 2011

Two Charlies

In a 1951 edition of Metronome magazine, King took out a two-page ad featuring two stars of jazz who used their product. The "Two Charlies" at the top of the spread refers to Bird, seen here, and tenorist Charlie Ventura who was featured on the facing page. But we know Bird also played the bigger horn. Whether it was a King is anybody's guess. Photo by Gems of Jazz 
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!

Charlie Parker was playing tenor on this gig, probably from late 1953 in New York City. The photo appeared in the February 1954 edition of Metronome magazine, accompanying a squibb about a recent rerelease of some of his Dial material. Wonder whose horn it was? Photo probably by Bob Parent 

No comments:

Post a Comment