Back in the early 1970s saxophonist Med Flory and bassist Buddy Clark conceived a brilliant idea: to form a group (primarily a reed section with rhythm) that would use orchestrated arrangements of saxophonist Charlie Parker’s transcendent bop solos as the basis for its music. As for a name, nothing less than Supersax would suffice. The nine-piece group made its debut in 1972 and was an immediate hit with US audiences on the West Coast and fans around the world.
Supersax produced a dozen well-received albums and earned a Grammy award in 1974 for Best Performance by a Jazz Group. Besides its co-founders, the Supersax alumni roster embodies such well-known names as Bill Perkins, Warne Marsh, Conte Candoli, Jack Nimitz, Frank Rosolino, Lanny Morgan, Jake Hanna, Lou Levy, Carl Fontana, Blue Mitchell and Jay Migliori. After Clark left the group in 1975, Flory soldiered on, playing and recording with Supersax, sometimes using the L. A. Voices.
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 ran them down for fun. Bassist Buddy Clark heard them and suggested Flory create a whole book of such solos, but it wouldn’t be until the early 70’s that Supersax came together, playing their debut at Dontes in Los Angeles.