This is a recent discovery I just had to post. It was was made at a private recording session in 1943 in Kansas City, the home town of Charlie Parker. It was never released commercially and features Parker on alto saxophone with just a guitar and drum accompaniment. This recording must have been made during the musicians’ strike of 1942-44 that contributed to the fact the bebop movement (which Parker pioneered) was out of the public eye during its incubation period. Parker had moved to New York City in 1939 and was playing regularly in Harlem jazz clubs during the recording blackout, so I don’t know what he was doing back in Kansas City in 1943 to be making this track.
It’s a fascinating version of the tune called Cherokhee that Parker used as the basis of the bebop classic Ko-ko I discussed in a post last year, and which shows him already playing in a recognizably Parkeresque style, but only hinting at the harmonic adventurousness he was to develop just a year or two later; Ko-ko was first performed, I think, in 1945. Very few examples survive of his playing from this transitional period, so this is a fascinating bit of musical history as well as being a fine performance in its own right.