Monday, December 17, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of the Day-The Quintet

Artist:The Quintet
Song:Wee (Allen's Alley)
Album:Jazz At Massey Hall

This particular concert is considered by many jazz experts to be the greatest live jazz recording in history. It happened at Massey Hall in Toronto on May 15,1953. The lineup was Charlie Parker on alto sax, Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Bud Powell on piano, Charles Mingus on bass and Max Roach on drums. All five are jazz legends. Mingus was a late replacement for Oscar Pettiford who broke his arm playing baseball. It was also the final time Parker and Gillespie played together. Of course everyone knows Parker was a heroin addict. His behaviour was getting worse and Gillespie couldn't stand it anymore. For all his onstage clowning, Gillespie was serious about the music. And he hated drugs. So this was a last hurrah for those two. And needless to say, the music is fantastic. The album was originally released on Mingus' label Debut Records. The concert has been released in various forms over the years. But when Fantasy released it as part of their Original Jazz Classics series, they stuck to the original release and that's available on CD. On the original album, Parker was credited as Charlie Chan because he was under contract to Verve at the time. The concert was promoted by the Toronto New Jazz Society. But the concert was the same night as a Rocky Marciano vs Jersey Joe Walcott boxing match at Maple Leaf Gardens. So the attendance at Massey Hall was so low that Parker was the only musician who got paid. Thankfully we do have this music. Jazz At Massey Hall was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1995. And here in Toronto, the 50th anniversary of the concert was celebrated as Jazz At Massey Hall Day in 2003. Here's a video for Wee (Allen's Alley) by The Quintet at Massey Hall in Toronto May 15, 1953.

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