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Lady Bird

Tadd Dameron Sextet

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Tadd Dameron


Recorded in 1947 with Fats Navarro (trumpet), Ernie Henry (alto sax), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Tadd Dameron (piano), Nelson Boyd (bass), and Shadow Wilson (drums).

Tadley Ewing Peake Dameron was born on February 21, 1917 in Cleveland, Ohio. The pianist and composer was not only the most influential arranger of the bebop era, but also wrote charts for swing and hard bop players. The bands he arranged for included those of Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Jimmie Lunceford, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, and Sarah Vaughan. He and lyricist Carl Sigman wrote "If You Could See Me Now" for Sarah Vaughan and it became one of her first signature songs. According to the composer, his greatest influences were George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.

In the late 1940s, Dameron wrote arrangements for the big band of Dizzy Gillespie, who gave the première of his large-scale orchestral piece Soulphony at Carnegie Hall in 1948. Also in 1948, Dameron led his own group in New York, which included Fats Navarro; the following year he was at the Paris Jazz Fair with Miles Davis. From 1961 he scored for recordings by Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and Blue Mitchell.

He also arranged and played for rhythm and blues musician Bull Moose Jackson. Also playing for Jackson at the time was Benny Golson, who also was to become a jazz composer; Golson has said Dameron was the most important influence on his writing. Dameron composed several bop standards, including "Hot House", "If you Could see me Now", "Our Delight", "Good Bait" (composed for Count Basie), and "Lady Bird". His bands featured leading players such as Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Wardell Gray.

After forming another group of his own with Clifford Brown in 1953, Dameron developed an addiction to narcotics toward the end of his career. He served time (1959–1961) in federal prison in Lexington, KY. Dameron suffered from cancer and had several heart attacks before he died of cancer on March 8, 1965 at the age of 48.

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