February 27, 2024

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Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Horn Players: BBC documentary: Videos

Over the weekend, I was in Los Angeles on assignment for the WSJ. While there, I managed to squeak in time to visit The Broad to see the Jasper Johns show and to take a fast run through the museum’s permanent modern-art collection.

On exhibit was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Horn Players (1983), a favorite canvas by my favorite neo-expressionist painter. However, as I peered at the museum’s wall card accompanying the work, something seemed off. The museum says that Charlie Parker is on the left and Dizzy Gillespie is on the right.

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Parker is indeed on the left, but Gillespie appears to be in the middle, and I believe Little Benny Harris, the co-composer of Ornithology, is on the right. Gillespie would have a thick soul patch under his lower lip, which the center image has. The song is based on the chord changes to How High the Moon. [photo of Little Benny Harris above, center, with Coleman Hawkins on the left and Don Byas on the right]

The first studio recording of Ornithology took place on March 28, 1946, in Los Angeles for the Dial label. It featured Miles Davis (tp) Charlie Parker (as) Lucky Thompson (ts) Dodo Marmarosa (p) Arvin Garrison (g) Vic McMillan (b) and Roy Porter (d). I’m not sure why only Parker’s name is listed as the credit on the Dial label. This was later corrected.Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 9.08.23 PM

The recording…

A BBC documentary on Jean-Michel Basquiat…

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