Corporate America says, “Celebrate Bird’s centennial – with our products!”

Here’s a recent attempt at cashing in on Bird’s legacy. More to come…. Hal Leonard publishes “Charlie Parker – The Complete Scores” “Hal Leonard celebrates the 100th anniversary of Charlie “Bird” Parker with this deluxe hardcover Complete Scores book featuring note-for-note transcriptions of 40 classic performances for saxophones, trumpet, piano, bass and drums. This is a true celebration of an American music icon, the preeminent alto saxophonist who was one of the fathers of bebop and blah blah blah….” $60 Continue reading Corporate America says, “Celebrate Bird’s centennial – with our products!”

WKCR’s 2020 Charlie Parker Centennial Birthday Broadcast: midnight August 29 – midnight Sept 3

This is big. A 120 hour special broadcast devoted to Charlie Parker. Broadcast live on wkcr 88.9FM in NYC and streaming live at wkcr.org. “Commencing at midnight August 29th and concluding at midnight September 3rd, WKCR-FM (89.9 FM, wkcr.org) will present the Charlie Parker Centennial Festival, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of a colossal figure in American music with a 120-hour marathon broadcast. The Festival will air 24 hours a day, and will showcase the majority of the saxophonist’s extensive discography, including both commercially issued material and rarities. Beginning each day with a potpourri of studio recordings and concerts, … Continue reading WKCR’s 2020 Charlie Parker Centennial Birthday Broadcast: midnight August 29 – midnight Sept 3

An Art Farmer story about Charlie Parker

Short and illuminating From Randi Hultin’s book “Born Under The Sign Of Jazz” “I was a close friend of Parker’s during the time I lived in California and went to high school – this was in the forties, just after he left Dizzy Gillespie. Addison [Art’s twin brother] and I had rented a big room to practice in, and Charlie Parker used to come there often – sometimes to get away from people, and other times because he didn’t have anything else to do. We used to go to the movies together, but nobody had any money, so we waited … Continue reading An Art Farmer story about Charlie Parker

A Double Schnapps

On August 8 1951, Charlie Parker recorded 4 sides for Norman Granz and Clef Records, with Red Rodney, John Lewis, Ray Brown, and Kenny Clarke. One of Bird’s tunes was titled “Swedish Schapps.” On September 10 1953, Gene Krupa recorded 8 sides for Norman Granz and Clef Records, with Charlie Shavers, Ben Webster, Bill Harris, Teddy Wilson, Herb Ellis, and Ray Brown. The band recorded a Charlie Shavers original entitled “Swedish Schnapps.” [Curiously, this recording seems to be in concert A major. Either Clef was careless about issuing it at the correct speed or Shavers wrote in a most unusual … Continue reading A Double Schnapps

Tony Scott: Stefan Wolpe and Charlie Parker cross paths

Here’s a mid-century New York City story, one of many where Bebop and Modern European concert music share a moment together; both kinds of music were enjoying some vitality in New York during the early 1950s. Bird plays a supporting role here in a remembrance that’s primarily about composer/pedagogue Stefan Wolpe. During this era Wolpe had several composition students who were active in the Jazz world: George Russell, John Carisi, Eddie Sauter, Bill Finegan and others. Clarinetist/raconteur/all-around-hep-cat Tony Scott fills us in: “Stefan was my teacher and dear friend.[…] and we had some wonderful times together. I lived at 81 … Continue reading Tony Scott: Stefan Wolpe and Charlie Parker cross paths

That Mouthpiece

From late 1949 to the end of his life Charlie Parker consistently played an unusual bronze metal saxophone mouthpiece marketed by the London branch of the Selmer Musical Instrument Company; mouthpiece historians call it the ‘Selmer London ff’ model.’ It was probably made by another company but stamped with the Selmer London name – something called a stencil in the musical marketing world. The main Selmer Company based in Paris had nothing to do with this peculiar model; it apparently was only made for a few years. What did it sound like? For an answer, listen to Bird’s incredible rich … Continue reading That Mouthpiece

A Breath of Fresh Air from 1954! or, Bird Gives You a Summer Listening List

In the early 1950s, a jazz disc jockey named Leigh Kamman had a show on WOV in New York City called, “The 1280 Club.” One day while on the air he called Charlie Parker at home for a surprise impromptu interview. The audio of this new interview surfaced on YouTube recently and what a treat it is to hear! Out of the blue, in this painful and difficult year 2020, we get a loud and clear message from Bird about an artist’s priorities . It’s critical to know how this interview fits into the context of Bird’s life. From 1952 … Continue reading A Breath of Fresh Air from 1954! or, Bird Gives You a Summer Listening List