I was doing some reading the other night and came across an essay by Ross Russell in the September 1960 issue of The Jazz Review. Russell, who had been owner of Dial Records, was reviewing a reissue of the Carnegie Hall concert of September 29, 1947 that featured Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie:
"I was pleased when I found the concert program intact in my files. The occasion was the first attempt to present pure bop to a large audience in concert. Remember, this was 1947, and the big names of jazz were Roy Eldridge, Don Byas and Bill Harris. Bop was very much a poor relation, husbanded by a hard-core claque, more annoying than effective.
"By divine right, according to these hipsters, the Bird should have been the main attraction, but there were a number of very good reasons for building the concert around Dizzy. Old Diz was then experimenting with the first of his big bands and, of course, ranked as an outstanding practitioner of the new style.
"More important, he was eminently employable, which at no stretch of the imagination could be said about Parker. It was often a matter of pure chance if Parker showed up for a booking at all (an advance was usually a fatal mistake), let alone with his horn, and the promoters had understandably put their money on the jovial and reliable trumpeter.
"The Bird was strictly an added starter [at the concert], a 'Guest Artist' according to the program, and was allotted a single 20-minute spot just before the intermission.
"As things turned out, the Bird showed up all right; really bugged—hopping mad, offended at having been passed over, and loaded with aggression for his old friend and protector. The concert, with its auld lang syne overtones, developed into something more than scheduled; not so much a formal presentation of the new music as an embittered duel between its two leading exponents...
"Add a bewildered audience, and a small, vociferous, near-lunatic Parker claque seated well down in front, and you have a very weird backdrop for the creation of music. And indeed, weird music it is that one hears on this recording."