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Leo Parker : 1947-1950

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Leo Parker : 1947-1950 album cover
01
El Sino (Harneefan-Mageed)
3:15
 
02
Ineta (Parker)
2:55
 
03
Wild Leo (Parker)
2:58
 
04
Leaping Leo (Parker)
3:06
 
05
Wee Dot (Johnson)
2:45
 
06
Solitude (Ellington-DeLange-Mills)
2:53
 
07
Lion Roars (unknown)
2:52
 
08
Mad Lad Boogie (Parker)
2:46
 
09
On The House (Parker)
3:03
 
10
Dinky (Parker)
2:28
 
11
Senor Leo (Parker)
2:40
 
12
Chase N' The Lion (Parker)
2:49
 
13
Leo's Bells (Parker)
2:26
 
14
Sweet Talkin' Leo (Parker)
2:26
 
15
Swinging For Love (Parker)
2:32
 
16
The New Look (Parker)
2:28
 
17
Mona Lisa (Livingston-Evans)
3:17
 
18
Who's Mad (Parker)
3:08
 
19
Darn That Dream (DeLange-Van Heusen)
3:04
 
20
I Cross My Fingers (Kent-Farrar)
2:39
 
21
Mad Lad Returns (Parker)
2:51
 
22
Woody (unknown)
2:50
 
23
Rolling With Parker (Parker)
2:41
 
24
Leo Leaps In (On The House) (Parker)
2:13
 
25
Solitude (Ellington-DeLange-Mills)
3:21
 
Album Information

Total Tracks: 25   Total Length: 70:26

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They Say All Music Guide

There’s something about the purling, snarling and booting of a baritone sax that can create pleasant disturbances in the listener’s spine and rib cage. Leo Parker came up during the simultaneous explosions of bebop and rhythm & blues. Everything he touched turned into a groove. Recording for Savoy in Detroit during the autumn of 1947, Leo was flanked by Howard McGhee and Gene Ammons, who at this point seems to have been operating under the influence of Lester Young. Leo does his own share of Prez-like one-note vamping, bringing to mind some of Lester’s Aladdin recordings made during this same time period. Leo’s Savoys originally appeared on 78 rpm platters, then on 10″ long-playing records. Anyone who has ever heard one of these relics played on period equipment can testify to the sensation of hearing an old-fashioned phonograph wrestling with the extra fidelity contained in the voice of that king-sized sax. The next session happened in New York two months later. J.J. Johnson was on hand to supervise a smart recording of his own soon-to-be-famous “Wee Dot.” Dexter Gordon is in fine form and it’s nice to hear Joe Newman blowing so much gutsy bebop through his trumpet. Everything smoothes out for a gorgeous rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Solitude,” a lush feature for the baritone. The rhythm section of Curly Russell, Hank Jones and Shadow Wilson makes this particular session even more solid than usual. Leading his “Quintette” in Detroit on March 23rd, 1948, Leo races into “Dinky” with a run straight out of Herschel Evans’ “Doggin’ Around.” Sir Charles Thompson tosses off some of his most fragmented playing, splattering the walls with abrupt block chords and tiny whirlpools of truncated riffs. “Señor Leo” cruises at a very cool, almost subterranean Latin tempo, a mood that brings to mind Bud Powell’s hypnotic opus “Comin’ Up.” You get to hear the voices of Parker and Thompson at the beginning of “Chase ‘n’ the Lion,” a fine bit of updated boogie-woogie. Apparently, Sir Charles was also known at that time as “Chase.” A second session recorded on the same day adds Charlie Rouse to an already steaming band. Leo gnaws his way through four tunes of his own devising. Nothing brilliant here, just good hot jamming. The people at Prestige Records were smart enough to line up a date with the Leo Parker Quartet in July of 1950, resulting in what has got to be the hippest version of “Mona Lisa” ever put on record. The quartet hatched two other handsome ballads and a pair of kickers. “Who’s Mad” is a sort of sequel to the famous “Mad Lad,” made when Leo was recording for the Apollo label under Sir Charles’ leadership. That makes “Mad Lad Returns” a sequel to the sequel. Unable or unwilling to shake this particular thematic, Leo called his next recording band “the Mad Lads.” Two out of four sides were issued on the little Gotham label. Meet the all-but-forgotten Henri Durant, a bop tenor who made all the right moves and promptly split the scene. Good thing he at least made it on to this blowing session. Finally, get a load of Leo’s creatively reconstituted “Solitude,” rejected by Gotham but included by Classics at the tail-end of this mother lode of vintage recordings by the amazing Leo Parker. – arwulf arwulf

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