Part of a larger ii-V-i progression, this lick or a closely related version of it happens no less than eight times in Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" solo, and its simplicity defines its elegance. This lick illustrates an extremely important aspect of bebop and jazz harmony: the resolution of Flat-9 to 5 in a Dominant to Tonic progression. Parker took bebop to new heights with a virtuosic technique and a wider harmonic vocabulary of which this type of resolution plays a major part. Similar to the pull of the Flat-7 of a Dominant chord to the 3 of a Tonic, the Flat-9 commands more dissonance and thus more melodic drive.
In this lick Bird begins on the B-flat, enharmonically, the third of the F#7 chord. He then leaps to the G-natural, the Flat-9. Parker adds to the pull down of the G by surrounding the target F# with two lower neighbor tones.
Other Charlie Parker recordings