Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cherokee - A Jazz Standard

Original sheet front illustration (1938)
Cherokee (1938) is a jazz standard - also known as Cherokee (Indian Love Song) - written by Ray Noble and originally intended as the first of five movements for an Indian Suite (Cherokee, Comanche War Dance, Iroquois, Seminole, and Sioux Sue).
Ray Noble (1903-1978)
Cherokee has been recorded over the years by many jazz musicians and singers, including Charlie Parker, Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Art Tatum a.o.
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker used Cherokee for the basis of his 1945 composition Ko-Ko. The song has also been covered as an instrumental by Bud Powell, Clifford Brown, Don Byas, Stan Getz, Lionel Hampton, Harry James, Johnny Smith a.o.

Below is inserted some examples of different versions of Cherokee. The original version by Ray Noble and his Orchestra was recorded in October 1938 for Brunswick

Charlie Barnet (ts) and his orchestra
Billy May arranged Noble's Cherokee for Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra, which had a hit in 1939 with the probably best known version of the tune. Here's Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra in a filmed presentation of Cherokee 

Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker recorded his first version of Cherokee in September 1942 featuring Efferge Ware (g) and Little Phil Phillips (d)

In 1946 Charlie Parker took part in a live recording session in Los Angeles featuring Nat King Cole Trio extended with Benny Carter and Willie Smith (as) besides Parker; one of the recorded tunes was Cherokee 

As mentioned above, Charlie Parker used Cherokee as the basis for his own composition Ko-Ko, first recorded by Parker's Reboppers featuring Dizzy Gillespie (tp,p), Curley Russel (b) and Max Roach (d) in November 1945

Another version of Cherokee explored by be bop giant of the piano Bud Powell was recorded in 1950

Harry James (tp) and Buddy Rich (dm) together in a TV presentation of Harry James and his Orchestra from 1964 end this small review of a famous jazz standard used as a vehichle for improvisation by both swing and be bop musicians


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