Biography of Charlie Parker Essay example

1060 Words 5 Pages
Biography of Charlie Parker

One of a handful of musicians who can be said to have permanently changed jazz, Charlie Parker was arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time. He could play remarkably fast lines that, if slowed down to half speed, would reveal that every note made sense.

Charles Christopher Parker was born on 29 August 1920, in Kansas City, USA. Although he was born on the Kansas side of the state line, Parker was actually raised across the Kaw River in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City was where jazz and other forms of black music were flourishing.His nickname was originally "Yardbird" due to his propensity for eating fried chicken - later this was shortened to the more
…show more content…
Playing in bands led by Tommy Douglas (1936-37) and Buster Smith (1937-38) gave him necessary experience. A tour with George E. Lee and instructions in harmony from the pianist Carrie Powell were helpful. His first real professional break was with the Jay McShann band in 1938, a sizzling swing unit (with whom Parker made his first recordings in 1941). Parker's solos on "Sepian Bounce", "Jumpin' Blues" and "Lonely Boy Blues" made people sit up and take notice: he was taking hip liberties with the chords.Charlie Parker was influenced early on by Lester Young and the sound of Buster Smith, and he visited New York for the first time in 1939, working as a dishwasher at one point so he could hear Art Tatum play on a nightly basis.

Parker, who met and jammed with Dizzy Gillespie for the first time in 1940, had a short stint with Noble Sissle's band in 1942, played tenor with Earl Hines's sadly unrecorded bop band of 1943 and spent a few months in 1944 with Billy Eckstine's orchestra, leaving before that group made their first records. Gillespie was also in the Hines and Eckstine big bands and the duo became a team starting in late 1944. Although Charlie Parker recorded with Tiny Grimes' combo in 1944, it was

Related Documents