Comments: Charlie Parker I: "Hot House"

I "discovered" tinyrevolution through a commenter at Glenn Greenwald's blog just a few days ago and have been enjoying getting caught up with reading here. Thank you, Mr. Chazelle, for this post. What a treat!

Posted by Gwen at September 9, 2008 08:18 PM

incredible playing all around. thanks.

Posted by Guest at September 9, 2008 08:43 PM

I guess, I will not understand 'Theory of Music' but the sound of music really gets me. I had watched "The Bird"--great movie and music. Thanks for posting the REAL Bird and his music. Great listening!

Posted by Rupa Shah at September 9, 2008 09:12 PM

Great post Bernard, always enjoy reading about or listening to Parker. Did you notice that Parker kept moving his left hand up to near the base of the neck? Probably having trouble with his octave key, and yes Parker changed everything for those who followed in his footsteps and in fact he raised the bar or at least in my opinion. Parker was actually a very “inside” player (inside the key) and chord tones feature prominently in his lines which provide the framework he builds his solos on. So you are absolutely correct it was the rhythm that was important, it was Parkers phrasing sense that was important not the chord extensions.

Yes the unison playing of the melody chorus (the head) is a signature of Be-bop probably for contrast as you say but also to emphasize the melody. It should be noted that the predominant note length is the eighth note, long sinuous lines of eighth notes with double time being sixteenth notes but that oversimplifies the music greatly. If you listen carefully to the head notice the superb phrasing, it’s the last thing most Jazz musicians learn how to do correctly. That holds true for playing the head as well as in the solo choruses.

By the way it was Parker’s birthday not too long ago.

Posted by rob payne at September 9, 2008 10:52 PM

Rob: great insights, thanks! Didn't realize about the birthday (damn). Happy b'day Bird!

Posted by Bernard Chazelle at September 10, 2008 12:34 AM

I've checked this out a few times now, and it's gotten better every time. That doesn't happen too often - last time I can remember was the first time I heard "Giant Steps" - I listened to it every day for like 3 months, and it just got more mind-blowing each time (the same thing happened with Coltrane's "Out Of This World").

I think it's the adroitness of their playing that's killing me here. They're just *so frickin good*.

Posted by Guest at September 10, 2008 09:56 PM

Prof Chazelle: I wanted to hear the music again but the video clip is blank! May we have it back? Thanks.

Posted by Rupa Shah at September 10, 2008 10:48 PM

I beg your pardon, Prof Chazelle. I should have said, please may we have it back? Thanks.

Posted by Rupa Shah at September 10, 2008 10:59 PM