a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History

Moose the Mooche

Music: Charlie Parker

Vocals: Instrumental

Original Artist: Charlie Parker Septet

Original Album: Complete Savoy and Dial Sessions (2004 (originally recorded 1946))

Albums: Live Phish 19

Debut: 1991-07-12

Historian: Ellis Godard

Charlie Parker's original was syrupy bebop, a mix of creep and frolic, like something you might hear during the credits of an Alfred Hitchcock film. It had straightness to it, preceding as it did Parker’s later meanderings in New York (and stupor in Paris), but it was nonetheless difficult to manage. And so, on a warm Hollywood day, and soon after Dizzy Gillespie had abandoned him on the west coast, Parker began his second studio session as group leader (with the Septet, Miles Davis et al) by trying three times to tackle the tune, rumored to have been named for his heroin dealer.

Phish’s only rendition came 45 years later, on a warm New Hampshire day, and Trey’s second night as leader of his own septet (Phish with the Giant Country Horns). The tune is no jazz standard, but that’s the way Phish performed it: bland, stolid, and on the mark. But, hey, even Miles and the Bird took three shots. 

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