The Parker Style

Thomas Owens

in Bebop

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195106510
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853182 | DOI:
                   The Parker Style

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Charlie Parker dominated early bebop in the 1940s. His mastery of the new musical idiom was complete, and his style had a self-contained logic beyond that of any of his contemporaries. Parker was a principal role model for jazz players worldwide. Elements of his style were copied, not only by innumerable alto saxophonists, but by tenor and baritone saxophonists, clarinetists, trumpeters, pianists, and others. Parker's recorded legacy begins in 1940, with two unaccompanied solos recorded on amateur equipment, and some private recordings by the Jay McShann band for broadcast on a Kansas radio station. They reveal that Parker was learning his craft by using elements of the musical language of swing. Perhaps the first feature of Parker's style to strike the ears is his tone quality; compared with that of his swing-era predecessors, it was harsh, hard-edged. Another striking feature is the rhythmic aspect of his solos.

Keywords: Charlie Parker; musical idiom; jazz; style; recordings; Jay McShann band; swing; tone

Chapter.  5847 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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