Now’s The Time

Sonny Stitt, J.J. Johnson, Howard McGhee

An all-star group plays Charlie Parker’s blues

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In 1964, altoist Sonny Stitt headed a band of classic bebop veterans on a European tour that paid tribute to Charlie Parker.

During Parker’s “Now’s The Time,” a medium-tempo blues played at a London concert, trombonist J.J. Johnson, trumpeter Howard McGhee (who was rarely filmed) and bassist Tommy Potter take fine solos.

Johnson, forgetting that Sonny Stitt had not soloed yet, begins to trade fours with drummer Kenny Clarke, then realizes his mistake.

Stitt finally gets to take a heated solo of his own and then the tradeoff with Clarke begins before the performance unfortunately gets cut off.

Still, what has been saved gives one a glimpse at some of bebop’s greats.


Sonny Stitt, alto
Howard McGhee, trumpet
J.J. Johnson, trombone
Walter Bishop, Jr, piano
Tommy Potter, bass
Kenny Clarke, drums

– Scott Yanow


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