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Jazz Review : Supersax Soars On Bird's Wings

August 23, 1986|LEONARD FEATHER

With Charlie Parker's birthday imminent (he would have been 66 Thursday), this seemed like a fitting time to drop in on Supersax. Organized in 1972, this nine-man band still devotes most of its time to the preservation of Parker's improvised solos, faithfully transcribed off records and translated into harmonic terms for a five-piece saxophone section.

Med Flory, who organized the ensemble and wrote many of the arrangements, plays lead alto sax in this labor of love. He is one of five founder members who were on hand Wednesday at the Vine St. Bar & Grill. The others were Jay Migliori on tenor sax, Jack Nimitz on baritone sax, Conte Candoli on trumpet, and Buddy Clark, who co-founded the group and wrote some of the charts, on bass.

Clark, who left the band many years ago, returned Wednesday as part of a reorganized rhythm section, with George Gaffney at the piano, and a drummer who worked for Parker in the early 1950s, Larance Marable.

Flory stuck to tried and true Bird masterworks: "Yardbird Suite," "All the Things You Are," "Chi Chi," and a dazzling revivification of what was perhaps Parker's most unforgettable solo, "Just Friends."

But the dedicated spirit with which these men interpret his creations has long brought a delightful supplement to the pleasure of listening to the bard of bebop himself.

Just to hear the mid-air suspension of that legendary four-bar break leading into the second chorus of "Night in Tunisia" becomes a joy quintuplicated when Supersax plays it.

While nobody outbirds Parker (who ever did?), there were some buoyant post-Bird outings by Lanny Morgan on alto, and by Nimitz and Candoli.

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