Charlie Parker was a legendary grammy award-winning jazz saxophonist, who invented the musical style called bop.

Who was Charlie Parker?

Charlie Parker was born on August 29, 1920 in Kansas City, Kansas. At age 7, Parker moved with his parents to Kansas City, Missouri. At the time, the city was a lively center for African-American music, including gospel, blues, and jazz. Parker had taken music lessons at school, later discovering his love for music. He played the baritone horn in the school band. By the time Parker was 15, the saxophone became the instrument of his choice. Parker started playing with bands on the local club scene while he was still in school. He loved playing the saxophone so much that in 1935, he decided to drop out of school in pursuit of a full-time musical career. During Parker’s short life, he was one the most important people within the jazz industry. 

Charlie Parker Musical Career

  • From 1935 to 1939, Charlie Parker played the Missouri nightclub scene with local jazz and blues bands.
  • In 1939, Parker stayed in New York City for almost a year, working as a professional musician. After his year long stint in NYC, Parker was featured as a regular performer at a Chicago club before deciding to move back to New York permanently.
  • In 1945 he led his own group while performing with Dizzy Gillespie, both inventing bop.
  • From 1947 to 1951, Parker performed in ensembles and solo at a variety of venues, including clubs and radio stations.
  • Parker also signed with a few different record labels: From 1945 to 1948, he recorded for Dial. In 1948, he recorded for Savoy Records before signing with Mercury.
  • In 1949, Parker made his European debut at the Paris International Jazz Festival and went on to visit Scandinavia in 1950. Meanwhile, back home in New York, the Birdland Club was being named in his honor.
  • In March of 1955, Parker made his last public performance at Birdland, a week before his death. 

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