Charlie Parker and Bebop

Bebop Introduction

After WWII, a new style of jazz evolved, which focused on improvisation, known as bebop. It became a musical representation of the 50s. Bebop musicians defied the stereotypes of Black culture. Bebop is simply referred to jazz improvisation combined with technicality. The genre is extremely loud and fast; it started developing its own culture and people performed in small groups and rooms. It was strictly for listening and the musicians praised the technical abilities when playing bebop.  

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker, the creator of bebop, was a huge contributor to jazz. He forever changed the musicians thought of music. Charlie was born in Kansas City, Kansas, then moved to Kansas City, Missouri several years later. During that period, African American music was very popular. While still in school, Charlie played in many bands, and he became very passionate about music. So, he decided to drop out and become a full-time musician in 1935. He played with local jazz and blues bands in Missouri from the years 1935 to 1939. While he was working in New York, parker met the guitarist, Biddy Fleet. 

As he worked with Fleet Parker, Charlie discovered a signature technique involving playing the higher intervals of a chord for the melody and making changes to back them up accordingly. Then, in New York, parker rejoined Jay McShann’s band and made his first recording in 1940. After a short time, Parker earned his nickname “Bird” and that nickname was used for the rest of his life and inspired the titles of many compositions including “Yardbird Suite” and “Bird of Paradise”. His compositions quickly flourished within the Bebop genre. 

Charlie Parker inventing Bebop

In 1942, Charlie Parker signed up for a gig with Earl Hines. Then in 1944, he joined the Billy Eckstine band and he believed he matured as a musician. Later, he became the leader of the group and performed along with Dizzy Gillespie on the side. They managed to invent an entirely new style of jazz which is commonly known as bebop. Parker stayed in Los Angeles until the summer of 1946. In January 1947, he formed a quintet in New. With the group, he performed some of his well-known songs, including “Cool Blues”. Overall, Charlie Parker was a huge influential jazz soloist and one of the creators of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos and progressive harmonies. He introduced those harmonic ideas, such as rapid passing chords, and new variants of altered chords. 

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