Roots and Seeds
The music developed through musicians influencing one another, a cross-pollination of thoughts and sounds. When we talk about the roots of bebop we generally bring up names such as Lester Young, Charlie Christian, Roy Eldridge, Jimmy Blanton, Art Tatum, and Sid Catlett.
There were also many other, lesser-known players whose ideas and stylistic nuances were woven into the great tapestry of jazz. Some were recorded, and some were not, but musicians remember them well for the way they helped shape their musical thinking.
JAY MC SHANN Bird loved Lester. Anytime that Basie was doing a broadcast or anything, he would always say, "Man, Basie'll be on at such and such time. What time are we gonna take intermission?"--make that hint for me so we'd take intermission so he could rush out and hear him.
On the recordings that Charlie Parker made with Jay McShann at the Wichita radio station in 1940 ( First Recordings--Onyx 221) he sounds exactly like Lester Young in certain passages.
HOWARD MC GHEE First time I heard him, he sounded like Prez; in fact the first records that Jay McShann made he sounded like Prez. That's sayin' that he had a lot of Louis in him, 'cause that's where Prez got his.
Armstrong influenced everybody, directly and indirectly. It didn't matter what instrument you played. You had to listen to him, to come through him. He was the first great soloist in jazz and brought a new beauty and continuity to the solo line.