Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jazz Gems #2 - Charlie Parker

Amusing/Amazing snippets from the legends of jazz.

Born in 1920 in Kansas City, Charlie "Yardbird" Parker is today considered one of the great musical innovators of the 20th century. He influenced generations of musicians, and helped to instigate one of the most important and successful American artistic movements - bebop. At age eleven he had just begun to play the saxophone; by age twelve he was playing in the high school marching band and local dance hall combos. Hanging around the Kansas City clubs, the young Parker first heard the new sounds of jazz from the musicians who passed through.
At age twenty he was leading a revolution in modern jazz music, but by the age of thirty-four he was dead from years of drug and alcohol abuse.
On his death in March, 1955 the coroner named pneumonia as the cause, estimating Parker’s age at fifty-five or sixty. He was only thirty-four. Parker was a titan among jazz followers during his lifetime, but it would take the country-at-large many years to realise the impact he made as one of the most original American musicians of all time.

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