Swing to Bop: An Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s

By Ira Gitler | Go to book overview

3
Minton's and Monroe's

Although it was bubbling up in many places, the new musk began to crystallize in New York, particularly at a couple of places in Harlem--Monroe's Uptown House and Minton's Playhouse. At the time Charlie Parker was playing with Jay McShann at the Savoy Ballroom in 1941, he was also playing again after hours at Clark Monroe's Uptown House.

CHARLIE PARKER At Monroe's I heard sessions with a pianist named Allen Tinney; I'd listen to trumpet men like Lips Page, Roy, Dizzy, and Charlie Shavers outblowing each other all night long. And Don Byas was there, playing everything there was to be played. I heard a trumpet man named Vic Coulson playing things I'd never heard. Vic had the regular band at Monroe's, with George Treadwell also on trumpet and a tenor man named Pritchett. That was the kind of music that caused me to quit McShann and stay in New York.

ALLEN TINNEY The first meeting with Bird? Well, he was playing with Jay McShann. He came down, and he sat in with us. And he dug what we were doing. He said, "Man"--we didn't know we were going to be saying "Man" about him!--"Man, what are you guys playing?" So he sat in, and we played "Cherokee" and things like that, and we had already developed a "Tea for Two" thing in the middle--the 2-5-1 thing--and he dug this, and right away he started in fitting into what we were doing. And before you knew it, when I came out of the Army he was famous, just like that. He could really get over his instrument, I knew that. And he had a lot of feeling when he was awake. He slept a lot, real heavily. And a guy named Earl Bostic used to come in and watch him. You know it's like gunslingers, and one night they hooked up. I don't really know who won because it was too tremendous, but Bostic had been scouting him, and they really hooked up, and it was tremendous.

-75-

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Swing to Bop: An Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Road 9
  • 2 - Roots and Seeds 32
  • 3 - Minton's and Monroe's 75
  • 4 - Fifty-Second Street 118
  • 5 - California 160
  • 6 - Big-Band Bop 184
  • 7 - The Bop Era 219
  • 8 - End of an Era 291
  • Epilogue 318
  • Index 321
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