Who is Charlie Parker ?

Charlie Parker ( Charles Parker Jr. ) is one of the greatest jazz alto saxophone players. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas in August 29, 1920. He was called "Bird" or "Yardbird". He was the revolutionist of jazz scene with his alto saxophone.

Public Domain
Portrait of BIRD
He created and developed one of jazz styles called "Be Bop" between 1940s and early 1950s.
"Be Bop" is the style at the dawning of Modern Jazz. It is more complicated than a former jazz style like "Swing Jazz" in respect of melody , harmony ( chord changes ), and rhythm. And "Be Bop" respects ad-lib above all.

Under such a style, Parker has performed his ad-lib solo by the inexhaustible melody which is full of a feeling of flying about like a bird, with far sharper rhythmic sense, in the tone overpowering everyone, at unusual tempo.

Being still second to none in ability to play alto saxophone, he had not only the skill but something-else. So every source of his recordings is a must, though his condition was changeable.

Many anecdotes are told of him.
I recommend you to look through the following reference.
His life was never stable.

He finished the short whole life of 34 years old by various complications, on March 12, 1955.

[ Bibliography ]

  • "Bird Lives! : The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker" by Ross Russell 1973
    (Fully descriptions of his life )

  • "Bird : The Legend of Charlie Parker" by Robert George Reisner 1962
    (The interview collection from many musicians about Bird, including surprising episodes. )

  • "Charlie Parker : His Music and Life" by Carl Woideck (C) The University of Michigan 1996
    ( Descriptions of his life and analysis of his music, helpful to both players or listeners.)

Jan. 20, 2002 Yoichi

Permission granted by Doris Parker under license
by CMG Worldwide Inc. USA

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