Charlie Parker

Charlie "Yardbird" Parker died 50 years ago this week.

I was first turned on to bebop and to Bird in the mid eighties at a dive bar in Kansas City MO called Milton's. I didn't know then that it was a legendary part of Kansas City Jazz History; I just knew nobody cared we were underage as long as we drank our whiskey quietly. Milton's had a tremendous jazz jukebox and it was that juke that introduced me to Ornithology.

A few Bird links of interest in his memory:

Jerry Mulligan on Bird (Library of Congress)

Bird bio from Ken Burns' Jazz series (PBS)

Boss Bird (4 cd collection of studio work for Savoy, Dial, and Verve for less money than one incredibly lame cd)

A Bird discography


Comments (5)
  1. Rick Schaut says:

    A rather little-known CD you might enjoy is "Jazz at Massey Hall" under the group heading, "The Quintet." This is a concert that Charlie Mingus tapped with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Mingus and Bud Powell. The quality of the recording on CD isn’t at all bad, and the interplay between Bird and Diz is downright funny. Bird, at one point, introduces one of the songs as being written by "my worthy constitutent, Mr. Dizzy Gillepsie."

    The original credits actually listed Charlie Parker as "Charlie Chan," because Parker was under contract to another label when the recording was made.

    Look it up on

  2. John Mollman says:

    That’s a great album indeed. There’s a remastered version that doesn’t have Mingus’ bass overdubbed and has some extra tracks that’s really nice.

    My current favorite live Bird disk is "Bird at the Hi Hat" — another recording from 1953. Not nearly the all-star lineup, but a great from-radio recording of a strong show.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. DK says:

    I agree with Rick Schaut… listen to "Jazz at Massey Hall" . The version of "Salt Peanuts" is without peer. And to think Parker played that show on a plastic saxophone…. amazing.

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