Bird Lives!
Eddie Duran & Friends
Sunday, Dec. 1st, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Eddie Duran, guitar
Chuck Peterson & Mad Duran, saxes
Henry Hung, trumpet

Dean Reilly, bass
Vince Lateano, drums

Eddie DuranBack in 1952, young Eddie Duran was the house guitarist at San Francisco’s Say When Club on Bush Street when Charlie Parker was brought in for a two-week booking with co-headliner Flip Phillips.  Flip quit the gig after a week and Bird demanded that management dump all but Eddie from the bandstand, calling in drummer Larence Marable and a young trumpet player named Chet Baker, fresh out of the U.S. Army, making his first professional San Francisco gig.  Larance and Chet had just played an engagement with Bird at the Tradewinds, down in Ingleside near L.A., and were rarin’ to go.

As it happens, a young reed player named Chuck Peterson (founder of Bird & Beckett’s Friday jazz series) was in the audience soaking it all up, having just arrived from Oregon, transferring from Reed College to San Francisco State College.  Chuck still remembers Bird & Chet emerging, perhaps a bit dreamily, from behind the curtain onto the bandstand and hearing the young local guitar player Eddie Duran holding his own with Parker.

Eddie & Chuck haven’t shared the bandstand before, but they’ve known each other well for decades.  Mad & Eddie, on the other hand, have shared the bandstand ever since young Mad met Eddie at Monterey & romance blossomed.  As for Dean & Vince, they’ve been on the scene right alongside Eddie for decades and are in the top echelon of San Francisco players on bass and drums, respectively.  And then there’s Henry, one of our very favorite young trumpet players on the San Francisco jazz scene and a regular on our second Fridays– he’ll bring a lyrical brilliance to the bandstand that’ll make this memorable sextet sing.

Throughout the 1952 Say When Club engagement, Bird wasn’t very happy with the joint’s management (truth be told, few club owners at the time were very happy with Bird’s work habits).  Bird spent a lot of his time over at the Black Hawk when he was supposed to be on stage at Bush Street.  He also took time for an appearance on Jerry Lewis’s Muscular Dystrophy marathon while he was in town– playing brilliantly for two hours, it’s said.

Regardless, the Say When Club booking is an important part of the Birdlore and San Francisco jazz history.  We’re happy to have a direct connection to those very early 1950s and Charlie Parker’s San Francisco sojourn, rough as it appears to have been.  Come listen to some musicians that were there, and we’ll pry some stories out of them when they aren’t exploring the bop changes.

Want to read more on Charlie Parker?  Two new biographies have just been released.  Much of the detail above comes from Chuck Haddix’s Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker, a terrific compliment to Stanley Crouch’s Kansas City Lightning.  Much comes, as well, from casual conversations with Eddie and Chuck — proof positive that you should take every opportunity to hang with the musicians during the breaks at San Francisco’s most intimate of little jazz spots!

Comments

  1. I am a disciple of Eddie Jefferson and am skilled at bebop vocals and sax. The west coast version of the band is called “Oakland Byrds”.. I can send you links of my music, and an event I am playing at and producing this Saturday in Oakland, if you would like.. I am from Chicago,and now live in the bay area , and have recorded 6 cd’s with material from John Coltrane, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan,Bird, Diz and many original compositions. Would you be interested in me playing your venue? Thank you kindly for reading this email.
    Respectfully,
    Byrd