Charlie Parker was a remarkable jazz musician from Kansas City. He played alto saxophone for multiple jazz bands and eventually collaborated with other great jazz musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, to produce numerous songs during recording sessions. In addition, Parker established his own jazz bands and string ensembles. Furthermore, Parker was well-known for his ability to play unfamiliar music from memory as well as his technical and fast-paced structured solos. Due to his musical style and collaboration with Gillespie, Parker became a legend for newly emerging jazz sub-genre called Bebop, which influenced future jazz musicians. Overall, Parker was considered to be one of the most influential jazz musicians of his day.
Parker was exposed to music while he was in school. In the fifth grade, he played the alto saxophone. Noticing his zeal over the sound of alto saxophone player, Rudy Valee, on the radio, Addie bought Parker’s first alto saxophone. Nevertheless, Parker did not become involved in playing and developing his sound on his saxophone until after playing the baritone in his high school’s orchestra, marching and symphonic band. His experience with the baritone created a musical passion within him. However, due to the limitations that the brass instrument offered, Parker returned to his saxophone again. Within no time, his zeal for the saxophone returned. As a result, Parker began to attend school less and started hanging outside around nightclubs and alleyways at night learning musical techniques from upper class students that played within these places. The late-nights led Parker to drop out of school; however, it became the foundation of his musical development. Nevertheless, he married his childhood sweetheart, Rebecca Ellen Ruffin, on July 25, 1936.
While the band was on tour, Parker married Geraldine Marguerite Scott, a stage show dancer, in April 1943, while he was still legally married to Rebecca, his first wife at the time.
Charlie Parker’s outstanding musical talent made him an exceptional jazz musician. Parker was noted as one of the key leaders of bebop, and was credited with helping establish its structure. In addition, he was greatly acknowledged as a musician after his death in 1955. In fact, Parker received a Grammy Award for the best jazz soloist performance in 1974 as well as the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1984. Furthermore, Parker was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for a few of his songs and albums, which included songs, “Billie’s Bounce” and “Ornithology,” and albums, “Jazz at Massey Hall” and “Charlie Parker With Swings.” Parker’s success and impact in jazz established him as one of the greatest influential jazz musicians.
Balliett, Whitney. “A Portrait of Charlie Parker: Remembering Bird.” The Instrumentalist 61, no. 10 (2007): 37–42.
DeVeaux, Scott. “Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker/Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker.” The Journal of Southern History 83, no. 1 (2017): 209–211.
Feinstein, Sascha. “Yusef Komunyakaa’s ‘Testimony’ and the Humanity of Charlie Parker.” Callaloo 28, no. 3 (2005): 757–762.
Giddins, Gary. Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central.
Haddix, Chuck. 2013. Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed May 8, 2018).
Lawn, Richard. “Charlie Parker: His Music and Life.” Music Library Association. Notes 54, no. 2 (1997): 495–496.
Priestley, Brian. Chasin’ the Bird: The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
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