Charlie Parker Bird in LA 4LP Box Set

Charlie Parker

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4LP Box Set of Unreleased & Rare Recordings!

Throughout his brief but influential life, Charlie "Bird" Parker made an enormous impact on popular music as one of the architects of modern jazz. The jazz titan, inarguably one of the greatest saxophonists of all time, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and spent much of his adult life in New York, but Los Angeles nonetheless looms large in his musical life as he spent more time in L.A. than anywhere outside of K.C. and N.Y. From 1945-1954, Parker made half a dozen trips to the City of Angels and recorded many of his greatest musical triumphs there.

In December 1945, Parker and Dizzy Gillespie changed music forever by bringing the sound of bebop from the East Coast to the West Coast for a fabled two-month residency at Billy Berg's Supper Club in Hollywood billed as "Bebop Invades the West." Entranced by the city, Parker would end up staying for an extended amount of time in which he gigged all around town, was recorded at a Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) concert and made some pivotal recordings for the nascent Dial label before he was committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital for a six-month stint for his heroin addiction, following a drug-fueled physical and mental collapse at the infamous July 29, 1946 "Lover Man" session. Shortly after being released in January 1947, Bird would stick around a few more months, which included a well-documented two-week engagement at the Hi-De-Ho Club, before heading back to NYC. He would return to L.A. four more times, briefly in November 1948 with JATP, for a three-month stay during the summer of 1952, and for shorter visits in 1953 and 1954.

For the first-time ever, Charlie Parker's prolific and historic first three trips to Los Angeles have been collected together as Bird in LA, a 28-track collection of mostly unreleased and incredibly rare recordings.

Recorded between 1945 and 1952, the performances collected on Bird in LA, and presented chronologically, are highlighted by the only known recordings from Billy Berg's on December 17, 1945, three previously unknown JATP recordings from the Shrine Auditorium on November 22, 1948 and the complete recordings of the legendary July 1952 party at Jirayr Zorthian's bohemian Altadena ranch. The collection includes comprehensive track info detailing recording dates and personnel and is rounded out with illuminating liner notes by the album's producer, John Burton, who provides an in-depth history of Bird's fruitful time in L.A. as well as the significance of these incredible recordings.

Although Bird and Dizzy performed at Billy Berg's for a two month stretch, no recordings of the performances have ever surfaced until now, despite being broadcast live on local radio. These recordings, capturing a cross-section of the December 17th program, presented here for the first time in their entirety and mastered from the original discs, come from a pair of homemade 10-inch acetate discs discovered by Bird detectives extraordinaire Bob Bregman and Norman Saks, aka "Yardbird, Inc." As Burton exclaims in the liners, "What follows is, in my opinion, among the most incredible of all Parker recordings, alone worth the purchase of this set. Instead of the rapid unison line 'Ornithology,' Gillespie and Bird play the traditional 'How High the Moon' theme, but in a call and response fashion that is quite rare in their recorded collaborations. Bird begins his solo with staccato notes that are like the stomping of a foot to get attention before he unleashes a perfectly executed flurry leading into a lyrical solo blown with such strength that one hears the distortion as the home recorder red-lines. At the end of the first chorus Gillespie exhorts 'Go, go, go, go!' and Bird takes another chorus before a chorus by Jackson and then a fiery solo by Gillespie, cut short at the end of its first chorus when the cutter ran out of space."

The first half of Bird in LA also includes recordings from Parker and Gillespie's performance for the Armed Forces Radio Service "Jubilee" show in December 1945; a compact arrangement of "Salt Peanuts" from NBC's nationally broadcast variety show "Drene Time," sponsored by Proctor and Gamble to promote Drene shampoo; five songs recorded at The Finale Club in Little Tokyo with the Charlie Parker Quintet, featuring Miles Davis and Joe Albany; a blistering version of "Cherokee" recorded for the AFRS "Jubilee" in March or April 1946 with accompaniment of the Nat "King" Cole Trio and Buddy Rich; and concludes with three previously unknown recordings of Bird at The Shrine with Jazz At The Philharmonic. While the performance has been widely panned for being substandard for Parker, it is included here for historical reasons or as Burton explains, "Because they are Bird. Every surviving fragment by this giant should be available for study. Off nights such as the Shrine help us appreciate and understand his greatest achievements all the better."

The second half of this riveting musical time capsule captures two performances from Jirayr Zorthian's ranch in Altadena: the now infamous July 14, 1952 party where it's alleged Parker, his bandmates and most of the audience stripped off their clothes at a rowdy late night gathering at Zorthian's 27-acre hilltop ranch, located in the foothills above Pasadena, and a second performance two weeks later, with a young 22-year-old Chet Baker on trumpet, in one of his first recordings. Zorthian, an eccentric artist who passed away in 2004 at 92 following a life that included surviving the Armenian genocide as a child and graduating from Yale, loved to talk about that fateful fete. As he once personally regaled Burton, the party was held on a Monday when the musicians were not working and Bird who arrived characteristically late insisted on skinny dipping in the ranch swimming pool before playing. Several songs into the band's performance, which included spirited version of "A Night In Tunisia" and "Ornithology," Zorthian yells out "take it off" and Bird obliges, leading to many others to disrobe and making a wild party even wilder. The performance was recorded by the brother of Bird's friend, the artist Julie McDonald, and it was sourced from Zorthian's personal second-generation tape recording.

The emergence of the rare recordings on Bird in LA represent a major cultural event and a significant addition to the Parker catalog.


  • 4LP Box Set
  • 2021 Record Store Day "RSD Black Friday First" Release
  • The Only Known Recordings from Billy Berg's on December 17, 1945 Mastered from the Original Discs & Presented in Their Entirety
  • Recordings from Parker and Dizzy Gillespie's Performance for the Armed Forces Radio Service "Jubilee" show in December 1945
  • "Salt Peanuts" from NBC's Nationally Broadcast Variety show Drene Time
  • 5 Songs Recorded at The Finale Club in Little Tokyo with the Charlie Parker Quintet feat. Miles Davis & Joe Albany
  • "Cherokee" Recorded for the AFRS "Jubilee" in March or April 1946 with the Nat "King" Cole Trio & Buddy Rich
  • 3 Previously Unknown JATP Recordings from the Shrine Auditorium on November 22, 1948
  • The Complete recordings of the Legendary July 1952 Party at Jirayr Zorthian's Bohemian Altadena Ranch
  • Comprehensive Track Info Detailing Recording Dates & Personnel
  • Liner Notes by Album Producer John Burton
  • Box with Lift-Off Lid


LP One

Side A:
December 17, 1945
Billy Berg's Supper Club, Hollywood, California
Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra Featuring Charlie Parker
  1. Intro over I Waited for You into How High the Moon (incomplete)
  2. Intro dialogue with Gibson into Handsome Harry the Hipster (incomplete) (no Parker)
  3. Cement Mixer (fragment) into Intro into Blues (fragment)
  4. Dizzy Atmosphere (fragment) (no Parker improvisation)
  5. FiftySecond Street Theme into closing announcement
Possibly December 10, 17, or 29, 1945
AFRS "Jubilee," NBC Studios, Hollywood, California
Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra Featuring Charlie Parker
  1. Groovin' High into announcement
Side B:
  1. Intro dialogue with Gillespie into Shaw 'Nuff into announcement
  2. Intro dialogue with Gillespie into Dizzy Atmosphere into announcement
January 24, 1946
"Drene Time," NBC Studios, Hollywood, California
Dizzy Gillespie Septet
  1. Intro dialogue between Vallee and Gibson into Salt Peanuts

LP Two

Side A:
Mid-March 1946
The Finale Club, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California
Charlie Parker Quintet
  1. Billie's Bounce
  2. Ornithology
  3. All the Things You Are
  4. Blue 'n' Boogie
Side B:
  1. Anthropology into announcement
Probably March or April 1946
AFRS "Jubilee," NBC Studios, Hollywood, California
  1. Intro discussion into Cherokee into announcement
November 22, 1948
Jazz At the Philharmonic, Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
  1. Ornithology
  2. Dizzy Atmosphere
  3. Out of Nowhere

LP Three

Side A:
July 14, 1952
Party at Jirayr Zorthian's Ranch, top of Fair Oaks Avenue, Altadena, California
  1. Scrapple from the Apple (incomplete) [Soloists: CP, DW, FM, AT; CP, DW and FM exchange fours]
  2. Au Privave/Dance of the Infidels [Soloists: CP, DW, FM, AT; CP, DW and FM exchange fours]
Side B:
  1. Night in Tunisia [Soloists: CP, DW, FM, AT]
  2. How High the Moon/Ornithology [Soloists: CP, DW, FM, AT, CP, DW]
  3. Party Chatter into Embraceable You [Soloist: CP]

LP Four

Side A:
  1. Hot House [Soloists: CP, DW, FM, CP exchanges with LM]
  2. Cool Blues [Soloists: CP, FM, DW, CP and FM exchange choruses, DW, FM]
Side B:
  1. March Noodling/Dixie
Probably July 28, 1952 at Zorthian's Ranch
  1. Scrapple from the Apple [Soloists: FM, DW, CP, CB, AT, DB, CP exchanges with LM]
Probably July 1952, Unknown Location, Los Angeles, California
  1. Au Privave (incomplete) [Soloists: CP, FM]

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