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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith's solo on "Hot House" (with Charlie Parker)

The great drummer Charlie Smith is unknown to most musicians. He appears on the only televised performance of Charlie Parker’s, along with Sandy Block (bass), Dick Hyman (piano) and Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), playing "Hot House" during the "Down Beat" award ceremonies in 1952. Charlie Smith was 25 years old at that time.charlie_smith_solo

His playing is brilliant. The three solos he plays are traded fours with Gillespie and Parker. The form of "Hot House", a tune based on "What is this thing called love", is AABA. Smith plays the first four bars of the traded fours. The last A is used to play the melody to end the tune. Please note how he uses the butt end of the stick to play explosive accents on the hi-hats. It is important to notice that Smith was left-handed and that he used a small set, which consisted only of bass drum, snare, hi-hat and one cymbal. The solo is very dynamic. I suggest, as with all transcriptions, to check it against the original work which can be found on the video "Celebrating Bird" and on some other Charlie Parker documentaries