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Leo Parker


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Leo Parker (April 18, 1925, Washington, D.C. - February 11, 1962, New York City) was an American jazz baritone saxophonist. He was known in jazz circles by his nickname “the Lad.”

Parker studied alto saxophone in high school, and played this instrument on a recording with Coleman Hawkins in 1944. He switched to baritone sax later that year when he joined Billy Eckstine’s bebop band, playing there until 1946. In 1945 he was a member of the so-called “Unholy Four” of saxophonists, with Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons. He played on 52nd Street in New York with Dizzy Gillespie in 1946 and Illinois Jacquet in 1947-48, and later recorded with Fats Navarro, J.J. Johnson, Teddy Edwards, Wardell Gray and Sir Charles Thompson. He and Thompson had a hit with their Apollo Records release, “Mad Lad”.

In the 1950s Parker had problems with drug abuse, which interfered with his recording career. He made two comeback records for Blue Note in 1961, but the following year he died of a heart attack. He was 36. The first Blue Note album Let Me Tell You ‘Bout It was released before his death; the second album Rollin’ With Leo was shelved and not released until 1980.


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  • nacht_vogel

    another great release from the Blue Note catalogue, that for some reason remained vastly overlooked, Let Me Tell You 'bout It, that is. Leo was certainly a gifted player.

    14 Jul 2013 Reply
  • SirAlecHendrix

    Leo Parker—now connected to the brandnew group ➤ Round Midnight

    26 Sep 2008 Reply

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