Charlie Parker biography
 

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker Biography


Charlie Parker (August 29, 1920 - March 12, 1955) was a jazz saxophonist and composer, and one of the top musical innovators of the 20th century. Parker is commonly considered one of the half-dozen greatest jazz musicians, on a level with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Johnny Hodges. He received early in his career the nickname of Yardbird which was shortened to Bird. Many refer to Parker as the Father of Modern Jazz since his influence on jazz is incalculable. Almost every serious jazz musician after him has at one time studied his approach to melody and harmony and absorbed much of his style.

Born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Parker showed musical talent from a very early age. As a small boy, he sang in the church choir of a local Catholic Church. Parker's father provided much musical influence, as he was a piano player and singer in a vaudeville circuit. Parker grew up listening to jazz bands like Count Basie's and Bennie Moten's. Although he sometimes played tenor saxophone, he primarily played the alto saxophone. He first recorded with Jay McShann's Kansas City orchestra.

Parker moved to New York City, where he emerged as the leading figure in the generation of artists that created bebop. Building on the innovations of the preceding generation of players — especially Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young — Parker developed a revolutionary musical vocabulary and style. He worked with and inspired the most prominent and influential jazz musicians of the era, producing a series of classic recordings with artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Christian, Kenny Clarke, and Miles Davis.

Parker's soaring, fast, rhythmically asymmetrical improvisations could amaze the listener; nevertheless close inspection shows each line to hold a complete, well-constructed phrase with each note in place. Parker's harmonic ideas were revolutionary, introducing a new tonal vocabulary employing 9ths, 11ths and 13ths of chords, rapidly implied passing chords, and new variants of altered chords and chord substitutions. His tone was clean and penetrating, but sweet and plaintive on ballads. Although many Parker recordings demonstrate dazzling virtuoso technique and complex melodic lines — the early 'Ko-Ko' is a superb example — he was also one of the great blues players. His themeless blues improvisation 'Parker's Mood' represents one of the most deeply affecting recordings in jazz, as fundamental as Armstrong's classic 'West End Blues.'

Parker became an icon for the Beat generation, and was a pivotal figure in the evolving conception of the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual rather than just a popular entertainer. At various times, Parker fused jazz with other musical styles, from Igor Stravinsky to Machito, blazing another path followed later by others.

Parker was known for often showing up to performances without a horn and borrowing someone else's at the last moment. At one venue he played on a plastic Grafton saxophone.

He died while watching Tommy Dorsey on television in the suite at the Hotel Stanhope belonging to his friend and patroness Nica de Koenigswarter. He had suffered tragically from drug abuse — as a teenager he developed a morphine addiction while in hospital after an automobile accident, and subsequently became addicted to heroin. His heroin addiction ultimately caused his death at the age of 34, after a lifetime of abuse (though the 'official' cause of death was a bleeding ulcer and pneumonia). The coroner mistakenly estimated Parker's age to be between 50 and 60.

Contents

Memorials

  • Parker's performances of 'I Remember You' and 'Parker's Mood' were selected by Harold Bloom for inclusion on his short list of the twentieth-century American Sublime.
  • The Birdland night club was named after him.
  • A memorial to Parker was dedicated in 1999 in Kansas City at 17th Terrace and the Paseo, featuring a 10-foot tall bronze head sculpted by Robert Graham.
  • Phil Woods, a famous saxophone player recorded a tribute concert for Parker, and in an interview stated that he thought Parker had said everything he needed to say.

Quotation

  • 'Bird's mind and fingers work with incredible speed. He can imply four chord changes in a melodic pattern where another musician would have trouble inserting two.' - Leonard Feather

Samples

External links



This biography is published under the GNU Licence






Items to buy by Charlie Parker



"Volume 6 - Charlie Parker ""All Bird""" "By Charlie Parker. Edited by Jamey Aebersold. For any C, Eb, Bb, bass instrument or voice. Play-Along series with accompaniment CD. Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long series. Intermediate, advanced. Book & CD. 42 pages. Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz"

...more info



Charlie Parker - Omnibook (For E-flat Instruments). By Charlie Parker. Criterion. Softcover. 144 pages. Hal Leonard #SB0116. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Charlie Parker - Omnibook (For B-flat Instruments). By Charlie Parker. Criterion. Softcover. 144 pages. Hal Leonard #SB0118. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Charlie Parker - Omnibook (For C Instruments). By Charlie Parker. Criterion. Softcover. 142 pages. Hal Leonard #SB0117. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Charlie Parker For Guitar "(Note-for-Note Transcriptions and Detailed Performance Notes for 18 Bebop Classics). By Charlie Parker. For guitar. Guitar Educational. Bebop. Difficulty: medium. Solo guitar instructional book. Standard guitar notation, guitar tablature, chord names, in

...more info



The Best of Charlie Parker - Saxophone (A Step-by-Step Breakdown of the Styles and Techniques of a Jazz Legend). By Charlie Parker. For saxophone. Hal Leonard Signature Licks. Bebop. Difficulty: medium-difficult to difficult. Instrumental solo book and accompaniment CD. Instructional text and

...more info



Charlie Parker (Jazz Play-Along Volume 26). By Charlie Parker. Jazz Play Along. Play Along. Softcover with CD. 68 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Charlie Parker - Omnibook (For Bass Clef Instruments). By Charlie Parker. Criterion. Softcover. 142 pages. Hal Leonard #SB0119. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Now's the Time By Charlie Parker. By Charlie Parker. Arranged by Rick Stitzel. Easy Jazz Ensemble Series. Grade 2. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Charlie Parker Collection (Alto Saxophone). By Charlie Parker. Artist Transcriptions. 64 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



I Remember You "By Doris Day, Lee Konitz, Jo Stafford, Nat ""King"" Cole, Sarah Vaughan, and Charlie Parker. For easy piano. Country; Jazz; Musical/Show; Standards. Easy Piano. 4 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

...more info



"Essential Jazz Lines in the Style of Charlie Parker, E-Flat Edition Book/CD Set" "By Corey Christiansen. For Saxophone (Alto). Improvisation. Essential Jazz Lines. Jazz. Intermediate-Advanced. Book/CD Set. 32 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc"

...more info



Charlie Parker for Piano (Featuring The Paul Smith Trio). By Charlie Parker and Paul Smith Trio. Artist Transcriptions. Softcover with CD. 72 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



"Essential Jazz Lines in the Style of Charlie Parker, Guitar Edition Book/CD Set" "By Corey Christiansen. For Guitar (Flatpicking & Fingerpicking). Improvisation. Essential Jazz Lines. Jazz. Intermediate-Advanced. Book/CD Set. 48 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc"

...more info



Yardbird Suite By Charlie Parker. Arranged by Dave Wolpe. Jazz Ensemble. Jazz Ensemble; Part(s); Score; SmartMusic. Premier Jazz Series. Jazz. Grade 4. 102 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing

...more info



Volume 69 - Bird Goes Latin "By Charlie Parker. Edited by Jamey Aebersold. For any C, Eb, Bb, bass instrument or voice. Play-Along series with accompaniment CD. Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long series. Charlie Parker originals presented in a Latin form.. Intermediate, advanced. Book & CD

...more info



I Will Arise Edited by Bob Dingley. Arranged by Charlie Parker and Victoria Shaw. Choir Secular. For SATB choir (A Cappella) (SATB choir). Choral Octavo. Sacred choral octavo (SATB). Choral and Sacred. Octavo. 7 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing

...more info



Charlie Parker for Piano - Book 1 (15 Piano Solos Arranged from His Recorded Solos). By Charlie Parker. Arranged by Morris Feldman and Paul Smith. Criterion. Softcover. 47 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Charlie Parker for Piano - Book 3 (15 Piano Solos Arranged from His Recorded Solos). By Charlie Parker. Arranged by Paul Smith. Criterion. Softcover. 48 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Yardbird Suite By Charlie Parker. By Charlie Parker. Arranged by Mark Taylor. Jazz Ensemble Library. Grade 4. Published by Hal Leonard

...more info



Search for other pieces by Charlie Parker by entering text in the box below:







8notes in other languages:
             


 
© 2000-2014 8notes.com