The Record Collection

The Quintet: Complete Jazz at Massey Hall

Jazz Factory JFCD 22856 (2004)
Debut DEB 124 (1953)

Track list:

01 – Perdido
02 – Salt Peanuts
03 – All The Things You Are
04 – 52nd Street Theme
05 – Drum Conversation
06 – Cherokee
07 – Embraceable You
08 – Hallelujah (Jubilee)
09 – Sure Thing
10 – Lullaby Of Birdland
11 – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
12 – Wee (Allen’s Alley)
13 – Hot House
14 – A Night In Tunisia


Dizzy Gillespie — trumpet
Charles Mingus — bass
Charlie Parker — alto sax
Bud Powell — piano
Max Roach — drums

Jazz at Massey Hall is a live jazz album featuring a performance by “The Quintet” given on 15 May 1953 at Massey Hall in Toronto.

The quintet was composed of several leading ‘modern’ players of the day: Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach.

It was the only time that the five men recorded together as a unit, and it was the last recorded meeting of Parker and Gillespie.

Parker played a Grafton saxophone on this date; he could not be listed on the original album cover for contractual reasons, so was billed as “Charlie Chan” (an allusion to the fictional detective and to Parker’s wife Chan).

The record was originally issued on Mingus’s label Debut, from a recording made by the Toronto New Jazz Society (Dick Wattam, Alan Scharf, Roger Feather, Boyd Raeburn and Arthur Granatstein).

Mingus took the recording to New York where he and Max Roach dubbed in the bass lines, which were under-recorded on most of the tunes, and exchanged Mingus soloing on “All the Things You Are.”
— Wikipedia

Jazz at Massey Hall:
Originally issued as two 10″ LPs: Vol. 1 (Debut DLP-2) #01-05; and Vol. 3 (Debut DLP-4) #12-14

Vol. 2 consists of the trio recordings of Powell, Mingus and Roach from the same date – all but “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, and one track by Billy Taylor with Mingus and Roach from a later date.

Issued as 12″ LP: (Debut DEB-124) #01-04,#12-14

The 2004 re-issue contains fourteen tracks, of which #05-11 are without Parker and Gillespie

Charlie Parker (listed on the original album sleeve as “Charlie Chan”) performed on a plastic alto, pianist Bud Powell was stone drunk from the opening bell, and Dizzy Gillespie kept popping offstage to check on the status of the first Rocky Marciano-Jersey Joe Walcott heavyweight championship bout.

Subsequent editions of this evening were released as a double live album (featuring Bud Powell’s magnificent piano trio set with Mingus and Roach), dubbed THE GREATEST JAZZ CONCERT EVER. The hyperbole is well-deserved, because at the time of this concert, each musician on JAZZ AT MASSEY HALL was considered to be the principle instrumental innovator within the bebop movement.