Saturday, August 29, 2020

Charlie Parker would have turned 100 today

Jazz saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker was born 100 years ago today, on August 29, 1920. He died at age 34 in 1955.

A birthday message by Jon Batiste, the bandleader of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

Wikipedia says:

Parker was a highly influential soloist and leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso and introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas into jazz, including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. Primarily a player of the alto saxophone, Bird's tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber.…

Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual rather than just an entertainer.

Here's bassist Christian McBride:

Jeff Goldblum, who's an accomplished jazz pianist in addition to being an actor:

President Bill Clinton: "When I was young, I listened over and over to his solos — breaking old patterns, building something new. 60 years later, I'm still in awe of him."

(Photo of Parker, with Miles Davis in the background in 1947, by William P. Gottlieb, in the public domain, via Wikipedia.)