Supersax was a jazz group created in 1972 by saxophonist Med Flory and bassist Buddy Clark, in tribute to iconic bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker. The group’s music consisted of harmonized arrangements of Charlie Parker improvisations played by a saxophone section (2 altos, 2 tenors, and a baritone), and a rhythm section (bass, piano and drums). Among the top sidemen through the years have been Bill Perkins, Warne Marsh, Jay Migliori, Jack Nimitz and Lanny Morgan.
Their recordings for Capitol, MPS, and Columbia (unlike their live performances) did not contain any individual saxophone solos and found the sax section playing note-for-note Bird improvisations (including the roller-coaster “Ko Ko”) with impressive precision. Clark left the band in 1975, but Flory continued the group on a part-time basis for several decades, sometimes using the L.A. Voices. Notable brass soloists that recorded with the group included Conte Candoli (trumpet), Frank Rosolino (trombone) and Carl Fontana (trombone).
The idea for celebrating the creativity of Parker goes back to 1956. According to Flory, he began transcribing the solos from a set of records that were sold to him by the alto saxophonist Joe Maini. He wrote three arrangements and Flory, Maini, Joe Kennedy, Richie Kamuca and Bill Hood ran them down for fun. Bassist Buddy Clark heard them and suggested Flory create a whole book of such solos. But it wasnt until the early 70s that Supersax really came together.
Flory and company rehearsed in his home for over a year until Florys wife finally suggested that they play at a club in Los Angeles called Dontes. The reception was phenomenal, and the group soon made its first album, Supersax Plays Bird for Capitol Records. Supersax toured all over the world and has recorded nine albums to date; in 1974, they won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance by a Group.