Charlie Parker

(1920—1955) American saxophonist

Related Overviews

Dizzy Gillespie (1917—1993) American jazz trumpet player and bandleader


Hines, Earl (1903—1983)

Miles Davis (1926—1991) American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader

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'Charlie Parker' can also refer to...

Allen Forte. The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1924–1950. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995; Steven E. Gilbert. The Music of Gershwin. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995 and Henry Martin. Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1996

At Birdland (Charlie Parker album)

At Carnegie Hall, Christmas '49 (Charlie Parker album)

Bebop & Bird, Volume 1 (Charlie Parker album)

Bird & Diz (Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie album)

Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker On Verve (Charlie Parker album)

Braxton, Anthony - Charlie Parker Project 1993

Charlie Parker (1920–55)

Charlie Parker (1920–55)

Charlie Parker (1920–55)

Charlie Parker Project 1993 (Anthony Braxton album)

Charlie Parker Records

Complete Dial Sessions (Charlie Parker album)

Complete Savoy Sessions (Charlie Parker album)

Diz 'N Bird At Carnegie Hall (Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie album)

Early Bird (1940-1944) (Charlie Parker album)

An Evening At Home With The Bird (Charlie Parker album)

Inglewood Jam (Charlie Parker/Chet Baker album)

1946 Jazz At The Philharmonic Concert (Charlie Parker album)

Parker, Charlie

Parker, Charlie

Parker, Charlie

Parker, Charlie - 1946 Jazz At The Philharmonic Concert

Parker, Charlie - An Evening At Home With The Bird

Parker, Charlie - At Birdland

Parker, Charlie - At Carnegie Hall, Christmas '49

Parker, Charlie - Bebop & Bird, Volume 1

Parker, Charlie - Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker On Verve

Parker, Charlie - Early Bird (1940-1944)


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Black US jazz saxophonist, often nicknamed ‘Bird’. In spite of his short life, he was one of the most important jazz musicians of his generation.

He grew up in Kansas City, during the time it was incubating new jazz talent. After humiliation on the bandstand, he taught himself to modulate instantly from any key to any other, an accomplishment that stood him in good stead for the rest of his life. In the late 1930s he played and recorded with the band of Jay McShann (1909– ), and played the tenor saxophone with Earl Hines, but in 1944 he moved to New York and freelanced or led his own small groups. A new jazz style was being born, led by Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and others; by the time Parker took part in the now highly regarded recording sessions in 1945, he was already a legend – one of the most creative and technically fluent musicians of the period.

Unfortunately Charlie Parker was a heroin addict all his adult life; he tried, but often failed, to persuade younger hero-worshipping musicians not to imitate him in that respect. He also drank to excess. When he died he had pneumonia, perforated ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, and a weak heart. A medical examiner estimated his age at fifty-three – he was thirty-four.

Subjects: music.

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