Thursday, February 01, 2024

Art Blakey with Charlie Parker - "Wahoo"

I was recently turned on to this recording featuring a young Art Blakey playing with Charlie Parker.  This is an era of Blakey I've not been too familiar with until now.  I know he played in fellow Pittsburgher, Billy Eckstine's band and with Fletcher Henderson in the big band era, and did some work with Dizzy Gillespie.  Bit still, when I think of Blakey I (like most people, probably) tend think of the Jazz Messengers, of driving shuffles, and of hard bop leaders like Hank Mobley, Jimmy Smith, and Lee Morgan.  So I find it really interesting to hear him playing in this much earlier bebop style.

The left hand comping, which I've transcribed here is out of sight, but what also struck me was the bass drum.  That's far more than "feathering".  He's thumping that thing pretty hard on all four beats, which I think still carried over a bit from the big band era before it started getting lighter.  I only notated the bass drum when he plays it even harder than the "feathering", or when it feels like part of the larger phrase.  The recording quality is pretty rough, but as far as I can tell he doesn't alter his ride cymbal pattern much.

I also noticed how many three-beat groupings he plays, both in quarter notes....

....and in eight notes....

So, here's all the comping, minus the heads.  Each page is a chorus and is time stamped at the top.  Drop me an e-mail if you'd like the PDF.