22 feb. 2008

What happens here? First go and listen to the first song then come back and compare your impressions with mine.

After the piano intro (Hank Jones) Coleman Hawkins starts his solo, playing in his characterically legato arpeggios. Charlie Parker fidgets and smiles and grimaces in the background, holding a cigarette in his left hand. The form of the song is AABA, so Hawk obviously thinks he is going to play 32 bars before giving the floor to Bird, but Bird has other ideas. He tosses his cigarette on the floor, in back of his chair on the left side it appears, and puts his horn in his mouth, coming in emphatically on the first beat of measure 17, the beginning of the Bridge or B section, while Hawkins's horn is still in his mouth and he's obviously thinks he's supposed to keep playing. The ironic halfsmile on his face says, "well, well, what do we have here?" He stops midway through articulating the first note of HIS bridge and sits back a bit to listen to Bird's brilliant 16 measures, swaying to the younger man's solo. The Bridge he (Parker) plays shifts back and forth between the original tempo and double time notes. Then in the last 4 measures (the last half of the final A section) he makes a statement through very deliberate, almost formulaic-sounding phrases... Then Hawkins plays a whole chorus of the song in pretty much his original conception, as though Bird's intervention hadn't happened at all. The two never really look at each other. The rivalry is palpable, although Hawkins just responds to the provocation by being himself, and then a little bit more so. Parker goes through about 10 moodswings during Hawkins's playing. His eyes shift from side to side...

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