Salt Peanuts

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"Salt Peanuts" is a bebop tune reportedly composed by Dizzy Gillespie in 1942, credited "with the collaboration of" bebop drummer Kenny Clarke. It is also cited as Charlie Parker's.[1] The lyrics have no meaning. However, they are a skat/bebop vocal which matches the Octave note interval played predominantly throughout the song [2]

In fact, while the verbal exhortation "Salt Peanuts, Salt Peanuts!" is closely identified with Dizzy Gillespie, the musical motif upon which it is based actually predates Gillespie/Clarke. Glenn Miller recorded sound-alike "WHAM (Re-Bop-Boom-Bam)", August 1, 1941 on the Bluebird label (later RCA LPM 2060), credited to Eddie Durham-Taps Miller, and prior to this it appeared as a repeated six-note instrumental phrase played on piano by Count Basie on his July 2, 1941 recording of "Basie Boogie" for the Columbia/OKeh label.[3] Basie also played it in a recorded live performance at Cafe Society later that year.

The refrain also appears in the song "Five Salted Peanuts" by Charlie Abbott and Bert Wheeler which was recorded by both Tony Pastor & His Orchestra and The Counts & The Countess in 1945.

"Salt Peanuts" was most famously recorded by Dizzy Gillespie and His All-Stars on May 11, 1945 in New York City for Guild Records. The lineup was Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Al Haig (piano), Curley Russell (bass), and Sid Catlett (drums).[4] The first known recording was by Georgie Auld, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster as the Auld-Hawkins-Webster Saxtet, released on the Apollo label in 1944.[5]

A few notes of the song are used in "Tiger in a Spotlight" by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The trumpet playing on the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Hump de Bump" quotes the song.


Liquid Soul on Make Some Noise (Liquid Soul album) (1998).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yaffe, David (2005). Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz in American Writing, p.17. ISBN 0-691-12357-8. "Charlie Parker's 'Salt Peanuts'".
  2. ^ "Salt Peanuts": Sound and Sense in African/American Oral/Musical Creativity, Clyde Taylor Callaloo (Oct.1982)
  3. ^ Jazz Forum: The Magazine of the International Jazz Federation. International Jazz Federation. 1974. p. 50. 
  4. ^ Martin, Henry; Waters, Keith (1 January 2011). Jazz: The First 100 Years. Cengage Learning. p. 201. ISBN 1-4390-8333-9. 
  5. ^ "Cover versions of Salt Peanuts by Auld-Hawkins-Webster Saxtet". SecondHandSongs.