Amazing Charlie Parker Recording of Cherokee

Back when I was in junior high school I was introduced to the playing of Charlie Parker.  It was 9th grade and up to that point all I had listened to was Spyro Gyra, Chuck Mangione, Dave Sanborn and the Yellowjackets.  My saxophone teacher told me that if I wanted to be good at jazz then I had to get the “Omnibook” and check out Charlie Parker.

I immediately went out and bought this book and started working on it.  I have to admit that  these solos were extremely hard and frustrating for my 9th grade brain but I stuck with it.  The hardest thing for me to figure out was why Parker would play a certain lick or phrase over a specific chord.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it.  I was learning all my chords from “Patterns for Jazz” by Jerry Coker and was learning what notes sounded good over what chords but then when I looked at a Charlie Parker solo I had trouble seeing how he was using these notes and  creating his lines.

It wasn’t until many years later, when I was in college that I started to understand a bit more about what Parker was doing.  Even to this day, I am in awe when I hear a recording of his.   His lines are so harmonically rich.  His rhythmic ideas and displacements are mind boggling.  You just get a sense that he is playing whatever he wants, whenever he wants and he makes it work over the chords……….

I just found this youtube recording a few days ago and I have to say that this is one of the best Charlie Parker solos I have ever heard.  It’s over the tune “Cherokee” and is a trio with Parker, a guitar player and drummer.  It’s a great example of his flowing bebop lines mixed with his amazing sense of melody.  That………..and it just swings like crazy!  I could listen to this all day.  Check it out.  Also, if you are a sax players and have never checked out the omnibook, maybe this will convince you to give it a look!

P.S. To blow your minds even more, I just found out that Curtis at has this solo transcribed.  It will cost you 2.50! I just received it.  Thanks Curtis!

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site


  1. How great is that! Thanks for posting this, Steve, i never heard this one.

  2. Hee Steve,

    On a great music website I found some other tracks from the same recording session as the track which you found on YouTube, enjoy;

    Body and soul;


    I found a new baby;

    My heart tells me should I believe my heart;

    Its so great to just hear Charlie Parker just alone with gitar and drums! And superb improvising of Charlie too!!
    Woooow!!! Does anyone knows from which date these recordings are, and where they are recorded?


  3. I think I just found the info here;

    Autumn 1943 (4 items; TT = 13:33)
    Vic Damon Studio, Kansas City KS
    Private recording (Acetate)
    Informal trio

    Charlie Parker (as); Efferge Ware (g); Little Phil Phillips (d)

    Cherokee (R. Noble) 3:08

    My Heart Tells Me (Should I Believe My Heart?) (M. Gordon-H. Warren) 3:16

    I Found a New Baby (J. Palmer-S. Williams) 3:29

    Body and Soul (J.W. Green-E. Heyman-R. Sour-F. Eyton) 3:40

    The guitarist may be Leonard “Lucky” Enois.

    These titles are usually listed as September 1942, but this is unlikely. Mack Gordon and Harry Warren’s “My Heart Tells Me” was not copyrighted until 1943. Larry Koch suggests (Yardbird Suite) that Parker worked extensively in Kansas City in late 1943 with a group that included both Enois and Phillips, and that perhaps these tunes were recorded during that time.

    For a measure of Parker’s development, compare this version of “Cherokee” to the version recorded at Clark Monroe’s in early 1942.

    this session is also known as “the charles white discs”. until the early 1990´s, the discs were in the possession of charles white, an acquaintance of parker. (two others were recorded but have not been found).
    this info came from carl woideck´s book “charlie parker, his music and life”, michigan 1996.

  4. If you like the song “My heart tells me” its perhaps listen to this version of Dave McKenna;

    Woow internet is so cool, you can really find anything!!

    I hope you like my additions Steve…

  5. Hi,

    Just to let you know that a TEnor version is alsoavailable at

  6. Toine, Nice! Thanks for letting us know. Steve

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