Charles McPherson coastal obelisk

Charles McPherson -- October 17, 1979 Malibu California -- photo by Mark Weber

Charles McPherson — October 17, 1979 Malibu California — photo by Mark Weber

THE THURSDAY JAZZ RADIO SHOW

February 19, 2o15 – Jazz @ Noon every Thursday (starts at 12:07 after the satellite news) Host MARK WEBER – KUNM Albuquerque, USA – 89.9 FM (Mountain Standard Time) also streaming on the web > KUNM.org – Current time zone offset: UTC*/GMT -6 hours (*Coordinated Universal Time)/Greenwich Mean Time)

CHARLES McPHERSON coastal obelisk

Who could possibly not know more about Charlie Parker than someone who has actually played his very notes? We’ve talked with Charles McPherson on this subject several times before on the Thursday jazz show and I have a batch of new questions to ask the maestro. We’ll patch a Live hook-up via telephone with him at home in San Diego. There has recently surfaced Bird w/ strings charts heretofore not known to have been part of that repertoire, things written by George Russell ( ! ) and Charles has seen and performed these charts a couple years ago at Jazz at Lincoln Center. We’ll ask about this.

Charles McPherson’s humanity, long studies, dedication to craft, have served him well: The product of his work and accomplishments on disk since 1960 (off & on with Mingus from 1960-1978) stand as testament to the gifts of pure spirit in action. He is articulate, incisive, and always penetrating in conversation, same as when he’s playing saxophone. No mere disciple, he nevertheless, like the rest of us, still marvels at the achievement of Charlie Parker and always includes at least one Bird tune on all his record releases, and that’s his inheritance. He’s been watching over this nest of bird’s eggs his entire life.

Merely a list of the pianists he’s worked with is staggering: Jaki Byard, Barry Harris, Duke Jordan, Kenny Drew, Lou Levy, Nico Bunink, Paul Bley, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, Sir Roland Hanna, Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan, Mickey Tucker, Teddy Wilson, Larry Vuckovich, Mike Wofford, Mulgrew Miller, Alan Broadbent, Cyrus Chestnut, Rein de Graaff, John Hicks, Renee Rosnes, Jay McShann, Don Friedman, Steve Kuhn, Michael Weiss, and those are just the ones he appears on records with.

Charles McPherson Quartet -- October 17, 1979 -- Pasquale's, Malibu Beach -- Pat Senatore, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums; Carl Schroeder, piano -- Charles has a new cd: JOURNEY (Capri) that we will be talking about, grabbing our microscope and dissecting, inspecting, atomizing, and plain-old listening to ---- photo by Mark Weber

Charles McPherson Quartet — October 17, 1979 — Pasquale’s, Malibu Beach — Pat Senatore, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums; Carl Schroeder, piano — Charles has a new cd: JOURNEY (Capri) that we will be talking about, grabbing our microscope and dissecting, inspecting, atomizing, and plain-old listening to —- photo by Mark Weber

Charles McPherson Quartet ---- October 17, 1979 ---- Charles is sticking close to the Pacific -- in this photo he is facing the ocean, having just moved to San Diego the year before, this club was right on the beach in Malibu -- photo by Mark Weber

Charles McPherson Quartet —- October 17, 1979 —- Charles is sticking close to the Pacific — in this photo he is facing the ocean, having just moved to San Diego the year before, this club was right on the beach in Malibu — photo by Mark Weber

Carl Schroeder -- October 17, 1979 -- photo by Mark Weber

Carl Schroeder — October 17, 1979 — photo by Mark Weber

Charles McPherson ---- October 5, 1998 ---- photo by Mark Weber ---- As my friend Z says to me: If Lester Young is the Master of Time & Space (as I call him on my radio show), then, Ben Webster must be the Master of Mass & Volume -- Why stop there? It follows that Charlie Parker must be the Master of Weight & Velocity

Charles McPherson —- October 5, 1998 —- photo by Mark Weber —- As my friend Z says to me: If Lester Young is the Master of Time & Space (as I call him on my radio show), then, Ben Webster must be the Master of Mass & Volume — Why stop there? It follows that Charlie Parker must be the Master of Weight & Velocity

Charles McPherson Quartet at Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque -- October 5, 1998 -- Randy Porter, piano; Chuck McPherson, drums; Jeff Littleton, bass ---- photo by Mark Weber ---- as Phil Woods says about Charlie Parker: "It was nature's cruel joke to put him here and set this unattainable example for the rest of us."

Charles McPherson Quartet at Outpost Performance Space, Albuquerque — October 5, 1998 — Randy Porter, piano; Chuck McPherson, drums; Jeff Littleton, bass —- photo by Mark Weber —- as Phil Woods says about Charlie Parker: “It was nature’s cruel joke to put him here and set this unattainable example for the rest of us.”

Charles McPherson -- October 17, 1979 (black & white) and October 5, 1998 (color) -- photos by Mark Weber Charles McPherson -- October 17, 1979 (black & white) and October 5, 1998 (color) -- photos by Mark Weber

Charles McPherson — October 17, 1979 (black & white) and October 5, 1998 (color) — photos by Mark Weber

It’s as if

the song is in the center
and the band circles around it

the melody is never entirely played
only flashes of it, abstracted
minute phrases, echoes . . .

a solar system counterpoint

Line drawing by Mark Weber -- February 6, 2o15

Line drawing by Mark Weber — February 6, 2o15

bebop counterpoint constellations
dixieland supernova, particulated,
swing round the sun, twin gryphons,
…….galloping along the coast
the leaden skies perilous
the sea surging upon the shore
and
here we meet a cart drawn by horses
a traveling circus
jugglers & lion tamers
saxophonists & drummers
cartwheels & flags & streamers
noble dogs laying atop the carriage roofs
an obelisk
a circle

Saxophone Studies, 1979 by Mark Weber

Saxophone Studies, 1979 by Mark Weber

4 Comments

  1. groovy… great poem… what fascinating fotos, as always…

  2. 2 or 3 THINGS

    1) the Phil Woods quote comes from Kirk Silsbee’s liner notes of June 2002 for the cd CHASING THE BIRD (Denon)

    2) Carl Schroeder was Sarah Vaughan’s pianist these years

    3) the 70s were a strange period in jazz (well, jazz itself persevered, but the surrounding musical landscape was dead)

  3. I don’t know anything about jazz, but think that I understood your poem. Thank you.

  4. ———–playlsit—————-
    Thusday Jazz Show
    February 19, 2o15

    1. Charles McPherson “Bud Like” –21apr14 cd THE JOURNEY (Capri Records)
    2. Charles McPherson & Pat Martino duet “Lush Life”(Strayhorn) –27aug68 cd HORIZON (Prestige)
    3. Charles McPherson “Au Privave”(Ch.Parker) THE JOURNEY
    4. Charles McPherson “Mantra” –14apr83 cd FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL (Discovery) fade to interview . . .
    5. Live telephone conversation with CHARLES McPERSON
    6. “The Journey” ibid.
    7. Pepper Adams “Portrait” –12sept63 cd MUSIC OF CHARLES MINGUS
    8. “Fire Dance” –April 1997 MANHATTAN NOCTURNE

    *all compositions by Charles McPerson except otherwise noted

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