A Double Schnapps

What great music! Take this nit-picky post with a grain of salt

On August 8 1951, Charlie Parker recorded 4 sides for Norman Granz and Clef Records, with Red Rodney, John Lewis, Ray Brown, and Kenny Clarke. One of Bird’s tunes was titled “Swedish Schapps.”

On September 10 1953, Gene Krupa recorded 8 sides for Norman Granz and Clef Records, with Charlie Shavers, Ben Webster, Bill Harris, Teddy Wilson, Herb Ellis, and Ray Brown. The band recorded a Charlie Shavers original entitled “Swedish Schnapps.” [Curiously, this recording seems to be in concert A major. Either Clef was careless about issuing it at the correct speed or Shavers wrote in a most unusual key.]

For YEARS AND YEARS, the Clef/Verve corporate brain trust would mix up these 2 tunes and print Charlie Shavers as composer of Charlie Parker’s tune on record sleeves and labels. Reissue after reissue throughout the LP era would continue to misinform, leaving behind an endless line of puzzled Bird fans to scratch their heads and mutter, “Welp…okay. The record label says Charlie Shavers wrote it, but it sure sounds like a Parker tune.”

One job that record labels really have to get right is making sure composers are properly credited so they get their fair share of royalties. Because jazz albums sell very few copies compared to pop albums we’re only talking about a few pennies here and there, but still.

I bought this LP in the early 1980s. After thirty years of issuing these recordings the composer credit was still incorrect. Note also that Ram Ramirez’s tune “Lover Man” is credited to Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson. C’mon Verve, you have ONE job to do…

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