It was 1941, the height of the Swing Era, and jazz was changing. As always in artistic transformation, evolution crept along at a steady pace, only later to be called revolution. There was no name yet for what was happening at Minton’s and Monroe’s. Those were the clubs in Harlem where Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and a few others were making rhythmic and harmonic adjustments that would in a short time alter the nature, intensity, and complexity of jazz. Much of what they played still sounded like swing. Much of it did not. Jerry Newman’s recording machine captured the early magic that Monk and Gillespie were working with chord changes, Clarke’s reassignment of the functions of time to unaccustomed regions of the drum set, and Christian’s genius in all departments. Hearing that happen is as profound an experience as if we could listen to a recording of the young Beethoven moving music from Mozart into the future.
with Thelonious Monk, Joe Guy, Nick Fenton, Kenny Clarke, Don Byas, Hot Lips Page, Victor Coulson, Rudy Williams, Al Tinney, Ed Paul, Tom Miller, Kenny Kersey, and others