Charlie “Bird” Parker
b. 8-29-1920; Kansas City, KS
CHARLIE “BIRD” PARKER QUOTES
• “They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But man, there’s no boundary line to art.”
• “Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you.”
• “You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.”
Books about Charlie “Bird” Parker
Charlie Parker: Celebrating Bird (1988) Charlie Parker -This 1987 film represents the first substantial documentary devoted to virtuoso saxophonist and bebop icon Charlie Parker, whose wildly inventive style and hip charisma made him a legend well before his untimely death at 34. Parker’s huge, ultimately self-destructive appetites and sad demise long ago confirmed him as a poster boy for the doomed romanticism associated with the jazz life, and arguably apotheosized in a number of the bop era’s most brilliant players, but while the film doesn’t ignore Parker’s life as a long-term heroin addict, the portrait hews more closely to exploring his creative genesis.
Through film clips, stills, and interviews with family members, musical peers, and writers, we follow Parker from his native Kansas City, Kansas, through his apprenticeship with band leaders Jay McShann and Bennie Moten, and on to New York. There, Parker would step forward as a de facto co-architect (with erstwhile partner Dizzy Gillespie, among others) of bebop, the small-group style that hot-wired swing rhythms and pop melodies with breakneck tempi, inventive harmonies, and extended improvisations, leaving behind the terra firma of swing for the high wire of a musician's music that mainstream listeners initially found daunting to follow.
Liberally scored with Parker’s best-known performances, Celebrating Bird represents one of the most literate jazz documentaries extant, thanks to writer and codirector Gary Giddins, one of America’s most thoughtful jazz writers, and Toby Byron, the producer behind the Masters of American Music series including The Story of Jazz. Engaging interviews with McShann, Gillespie, drummer Roy Haynes, veteran jazz writer Leonard Feather, first wife Rebecca Parker Davis, and final companion Chan Parker provide a balance of musical analysis and personal insight. For Bird’s fans, this is a treat; for newly converted listeners, the story represents a keystone to the history of the music’s crucial transition from swing to bop and beyond.
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (Orchard Paperbacks) by Christopher Raschka - How do you give children a sense of jazz music without playing a note? Chris Raschka answers loudly and clearly with the illustrated, syncopated Charlie Parker Played Be Bop. This sparse, rhythmic, repetitive text (inspired by a recording of Parker’s “A Night in Tunisia”) embraces and reflects the sound and feel of jazz when read aloud: “Charlie Parker played be bop. / Charlie Parker played saxophone. / The music sounded like be bop. / Never leave your cat alone.” Whether in complete phrases or in nonsense refrains that taste like music in your mouth (“Alphabet alphabet, alphabet, alph, / Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee, chick, / Overshoes, overshoes, overshoes, o, / Reeti-footi, reeti-footi, reeti-footi, ree.”), Raschka brings melody to the page, and rhythm to eager ears.
Raschka, whose Yo! Yes? won a Caldecott Honor, and whose Mysterious Thelonious - another ebullient, musical exploration of a jazz legend - was named a 1997 ALA Notable Book, proves once again that he is just as at home with a paintbrush as he is with a pen. His bold, quirky illustrations add movement and light to the words, buoying their already lyrical effect. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop is a colorful, whimsical romp through the world of jazz, sure to set young and old toes a-tapping. (Ages 4 to 8)
Charlie Parker Omnibook: Transposed for B Flat Instruments - 60 solos such as Moose the Mooch, Ornithology and Anthropology, transcribed by Jamey Aebersold and Ken Slone. A cross section of the music of Charlie Parker. Spiral-bound, with chord symbols, metronome markings, record information, and practice suggestions.
Yardbird Suite: The Ultimate Charlie Parker -- Charlie Parker; Audio CD -
Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery (1998 VHS) - groundbreaking six hour series of surprising revelations, dramatic recreations, rare archival photography and riveting first-person accounts. Africans in America helps define the reality of slavery’s past through the insightful commentary of a wide range of voices, including General Colin Powell and leading scholars, and offers unparalleled understanding - from slavery’s birth in the early 1600s through the violent onset of civil war in 1860. Narrated by Angela Bassett; includes the voices of William Hurt and Andre Braugher. Winner 1998 Peabody Award.
LINKS TO LEARNING : CHARLIE PARKER
KC Star article -Scholar discovers missing links in Parker’s past - Two of Jazz legend’s former KC homes still stand - and both are in the same block as The Creative Process! A good neighbor of ours has been restoring a fourplex for several years- and just learned that the building had been the home to a young Charlie Parker (according to KC school records.) The apartment buildings one block south of the Creative Process are another of the Parker family addresses.