Monday Jazz Quiz #33

April 7th, 2014


The correct answer is: Buster Smith

 

“…Parker showed up in New York and decided that he was staying with Buster Smith and his wife. Smith was tolerant and conspiratorial, and allowed Charlie to sleep in his bed during the day while he was out, despite his wife’s objections…

“…when Mrs. Smith put her foot down, Charlie took various non-musical jobs for the first and only time in his life, eventually spending perhaps as much as three months washing dishes, for $9.00 a week plus meals, at Jimmy’s Chicken Shack. This Harlem eatery, owned by bandleader Andy Kirk, employed Mrs. Smith in the daytimes when it was managed by Kirk’s wife Mary, while at night it was run by saxophonist John Williams who’d recently left the Kirk band in order to do so (and to separate from his own wife Mary Lou). There were jam sessions here too, but the real attraction was that it was a favourite hang-out of the great Art Tatum, the blind solo pianist whose harmonic ingenuity perhaps exceeded Ellington’s at this stage and whose speed of execution was so dazzling that the ingenuity was lost on all but the more inquiring of his fellow musicians…”

– Brian Priestley, from Chasin’ the Bird: The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker, by Brian Priestley

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