from DeVeaux, "Conversation with Howard McGhee," The Black Perspective in Music, 1987

McGhee: Charlie Parker was something else. And he didn't play no nineteen choruses. He once told me, he said, "I can play all I know in eight bars".

DeVeaux: How did you meet Charlie Parker?

McGhee: Well, I was working with Charlie Barnet over at the Adams Theater [in Newark], back in 1943. I just come in after we came off the stage. I turned on the radio and Charlie Parker came on the air playing "Cherokee". I had never heard anything like that in my life. I had never heard anybody play that much horn, you know. He was playing with Jay McShann at the Savoy Ballroom, and that night the whole band went up there to hear this cat Charlie Parker. So I asked Jay, "Say, who was the cat who played the solo on the radio today?" And he said, "That cat sitting right there in the third seat". And I looked at Charlie, and he was a little skinny guy, and I said, "Jiminy, that's the guy that played all that horn?" I asked him to play the number for us, so a little while later, Charlie got up and played and I never -- we all stood there with our mouths open because we hadn't heard anybody play a horn like that.

I didn't really get to know Bird until he came to California after the war, after I went out there with Hawk. Charlie was a complete musician. He could play anything he wanted to play on that horn....After Bird came out of [the California State Hospital at] Camarillo, I hired him to play with me for eight weeks, man, and I never heard so much horn in my life. Man, I was so thrilled to work with Bird, I used to hate to go to work, because he would put a heavy whipping on me, and yet I couldn't wait to get there. Because I knew what I was going to hear when I got there, and damn, he didn't never let me down.