Charlie Parker, 1920-1955

This is Charlie Parker’s birthday. If he had lived, he would be 92. I wish that he had taken better care of himself.

Here’s a segment from Ken Burns’ film Jazz.

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  1. says

    Bird is forever young. He was jazz’s only real genius — for me, he was the Mozart of jazz. Too bad that he wasted too much of his lifetime with his special addictions. Well, some can’t get enough out of life, they need the extra portion; and so, the candle is burning from both ends.

    Happy Birthday, Bird. Your marvelous music will live forever.

  2. Charley Gerard says

    I have found just bits and pieces about the interracial audience for
    bebop in the 1940s. Chan Parker writes about how her friends lived for
    bebop, and Jimmy Heath writes about how musicians became involved in
    interracial affairs. This audience of young musicians allied
    themselves around heroin and Red Rodney describes the drug as the
    badge that set them apart from the rest of the world. I have seen this
    crowd of bebop fans described as the group that preceded the beats.
    Unlike the beats, they seemed to live around midtown Manhattan – like
    Gil Evans and Jimmy Knepper. And unlike later generations, it was a
    remarkably interracial artistic community – not at all the
    bebop-as-black-music conception that has become the favored view of
    jazz writers.