O pianista e compositor Avery Parrish, nasceu no 24 de janeiro de 1917. Enquanto cursava a Alabama State Teachers College entrou para 'Bama Street Collegians que depois veio a converter-se na Erskine Hawkins Big Band.
Permaneceu com Hawkins nos anos gloriosos da banda, até 1941, e está presente em todas as gravações por esta realizadas. A banda de Erskine jamais tornou-se famosa ,mas em sua história consta a criação do clássico blues "After Hours" composto por Avery, e que veio a receber várias outras leituras feitas por grandes músicos como Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Hazel Scott, Roy Haynes, entre outros, e ainda uma versão vocal da maravilhosa Aretha Franklin.
Avery, saiu da banda de Hawkins e foi para California, onde se envolveu em uma briga de bar, ficando parcialmente paralizado em decorrência dos ferimentos e por isso, sua carreira foi encerrada. Faleceu misteriosamente em Dezembro de 1959, e apesar de nunca ter gravado um disco solo, passou para a história da música como compositor do blues "After Hours".
Ouça David Maxwell solando "After Hours", a famosa composição de Avery Parrish.
Pianist and composer Avery Parrish was born on January 24th,1917. Parrish attended Alabama State Teachers College where he became a member of the 'Bama Street Collegians in 1934, which in time became the Erskine Hawkins Big Band. Parrish was with Hawkins through the glory years, staying until 1941 and appearing on all of the band's early recordings.
The Erskine Hawkins Big Band, which, while not as popular as many other big bands of the era, were a very able and functioning working band that has one detail that no other band from that time has: they created the classic standard “After Hours.”
Avery Parrish played piano and arranged the song in 1940 for label Bluebird. It became an instant classic, and for many years any piano player worth his salt knew how to play this blues chart. It has been recorded many times. There are versions by Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Hazel Scott, Phineas Newborn, Hank Crawford, Buck Clayton, Roy Haynes, Ray Bryant, James Booker, and even a vocal version by Aretha Franklin. It is still used today in many “stump the piano player” scenarios.
There are many mysterious characters in jazz and blues history whose names are remembered or recognized on the records down below the artist in parenthesis, as the composer of the song. Avery Parrish will go down in history as the composer of the classic blues piano song “After Hours.”
Avery left Hawkins in 1941 to work in California but a year later he was in a bar fight, suffered partial paralysis and his playing career was over; he was only 24. Avery Parrish, who never recorded under his own name, spent the rest of his life working day jobs and when he was 42 he died mysteriously in December,1959.
Reference - Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
Listen to Avery's most famous composition, the blues "After Hours"