May 17, 2021
Start Date: January 3, 2021
Final Price: $678.00 (USD)
Seller Feedback: 61
Buyer Feedback: 0
Around 1940 a white Columbia student named Jerry Newman started lugging his acetate disc recording machine to black-owned Jazz clubs in Harlem. He recorded at Mintons Playhouse at 210 118th St. on the ground floor of the Cecil Hotel. The house band at Minton's in 1941, with the addition of frequent guests, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Christian, was at the center of the emergence of bebop in the early 1940s.
If here is such a thing as a Holy Grail of the birth of bebop, these discs are it. While the sound quality may be lacking (Thelonious Monk is virtually inaudible on piano) Christians guitar experiments are sublime.
These discs are indispensable as an essential document in jazz history.
A fascinating document of the birth of bebop--live sessions recorded at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem in 1941, featuring Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke, Thelonious Monk, and, yes--Charlie Christian. I never associated Charlie with bebop, but here he is at the very beginning, sitting in with the guys who would revolutionize the world of jazz when this new musical form made its way downtown to 42nd Street in the late 40s. Christian's revolutionary standing is based, in the main, on the anecdotal evidence of contemporaries and two eight-minute jam session tunes recorded after-hours at New York's Minton's Playhouse in May 1941: "Topsy (Swing To Bop)" and "Stomping At The Savoy," both included in this collection.
These recordings were made by Jerry Newman on a Recordio disc cutter, so they're obviously not 21st-century fidelity, but the quality is surprisingly good considering the date and the circumstances, and the historical and artistic importance of these recordings make "Swing to Bop" essential for any serious jazz lover.
Highly recommended. Recorded in May of 1941, some consider these the last recordings made by Charlie Christian before his death at the age of 25 from TB. The Memorial Album VOX VSP-302 was released in 1947.
This copy was played one time in the 1980s by me, on proper equipment. This has been In my possession since 1976.
To say a good copy of this memorial release from 1947 is rare is an understatement.