The Unknown Dick Twardzik
Long ago I acquired an LP of Charlie Parker entitled ‘The Happy Bird’ which was a poorly recorded jam session in an after- hours club called ‘Christy’s’. The date was April 12, 1951. Besides the majestic Parker, also featured were Wardell Gray, Walter Bishop, Roy Haynes, Teddy Kotick and Charlie Mingus. On some tracks the pianist was a young virtuoso from Boston called Dick Twardzick. Since this recording, other recordings of Twardzick have surfaced, including an album with Chet Baker.
“I Remember April”
Recently I learned of some recordings of Twardzik made in Boston with a trio consisting of Carson Smith bass and Peter Littman drums. Twardzik (1931-1955) was classically trained and performed in public at age 14. A superb technician, he mastered the bebop style and added his own innovations. Unfortunately he became addicted to heroin as a teenager and when touring Europe with Chet Baker died of an overdose in a Paris hotel room, aged 24. I recommend a track from the trio recordings, the evergreen “I Remember April”. Great piano playing and fine drums and bass! Not for musical morons!