At The Movies With TheObamaCrat™: “Miles Ahead”, A Film About Miles Davis.


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I saw Miles play once. I was at a Marvin Gaye concert in Atlanta in the late late seventies and it was pouring rain outside that night. Marvin was blowing away on stage, when the door to the tiny hole in the wall club banged open. In walked Miles with his horn wrapped up, inside a case, in his coat. He was soaked. He walked to the stage, walked over to a stool, folded his coat, laid it on the stool. Set his horn case on top of the folded coat, opened the case. Removed his horn and applied the mouth piece. Turned, walked to the mic. Marvin stepped back. Miles preceded to blow that horn until it stopped raining….3 hours and 37 minutes later.

 

Miles Ahead is an upcoming American biographical film directed by Don Cheadle which Cheadle co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson, based on the life of jazz musician Miles Davis. The film stars Don Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Ewan McGregor.

 

Cast

 

Don Cheadle Talks About Upcoming Miles Davis Movie

 

 

 

Filming

The filming for the film began on July 7, 2014 in CincinnatiOhio, as the first look of Don Cheadle as Miles Davis was also revealed by news.

 

Miles Ahead Don Cheadle with Erin Davis & Vince Wilburn Jr from Miles Movie

 

 

 

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Join MILES AHEAD – A Don Cheadle Film

 

Join Miles Davis as he busts out of his silent period with an unlikely partner in crime, guns blazing, to steal back his music, and conjure his long lost love.

 

Music has always been one of my passions.  Since 6th grade, when I started listening to my parents’ Miles Davis records, his artistry has been an inspiration to me; he was someone who only ever followed a path as a runway to create a new one.

 

Surprisingly, Miles’ life, his passion, his creativity, his fire have never been brought to life in a film and the fact that his family has chosen me to do this now is an honor.

 

I want to tell a story that Miles himself would have wanted to see, something hip, cool, alive and AHEAD.

 

I’ve taken my marching orders from Miles’ mandates (“Play what’s not there.” “Fear no mistakes. There are none.”) and focused in on a very specific point in his life to explore his relationship with his muse, his voice, his fears and challenges to come out of his silent period and return to the music. I’m hopefully making a movie that tells a story many people can relate to, jazz fan or not.

 

MILES AHEAD is not just about the music. It’s about what we all face at one time or another in our lives; questions about who we really are, what we have to say and how will we say it. How will we ultimately be defined and who gets to say so?

 

Speaking of defining, in Miles’ illustrious career, he played everything from show tunes to acid rock. That’s why he rejected the term “jazz” and preferred to have his work defined as “social music.

 

It makes perfect sense therefore to make MILES AHEAD a

 

Social Experience. 

 

I’m here on Indiegogo to invite you to connect with us NOW. 

 

This film is being produced independent of any major studios, so every dollar raised by this campaign is going directly towards the budget. MILES AHEAD has been in development since 2008 and many variables have changed over the years. Location, crew and timelines have impacted the overall budget tremendously. We have an incredible cast now that we’re really excited about, including Ewan McGregor. We need the money that we’re asking for to make the film we want to make. If we weren’t crowdfunding, we would have to cut out scenes or characters that we feel really need to be in the movie. That’s why we’re here on Indiegogo and that’s why 100% of the money raised by this campaign will go towards making this film the best film it can possibly be.

 

#MILESAHEAD NOW ON INDIEGOGO

 

 

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Great Performances “Miles Ahead” The Music of Miles Davis PBS

 

Published on Jan 1, 2014

The first documentary that I know of on Miles Davis. Recorded on my WinTV video card from a VHS dub from the original PBS TV station reel in 1986. It was a birthday gift to me and is uploaded strictly for educational purposes.

 

 

 

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Miles Ahead

 

An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

 

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From USA Today:

 

Don Cheadle channels an icon who was ‘Miles Ahead’

 

In the Cheadle family music collection, among all theMotown and R&B records, were three jazz albums – one each by Miles Davis, Charlie Parker andCannonball Adderley.

 

“Those were the ones I gravitated to,” says actor Don Cheadle, who is making his directorial debut in Cincinnati with the shooting of Miles Ahead, a movie about Davis.

 

When Davis played Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver in 1981 – two years after his “silent period” to be portrayed in the film – the 16-year-old Cheadle was there.

 

“I never forgot the performance. It was the We Want Miles tour. It was incredible,” said Cheadle, 49, in his Downtown Cincinnati office. One wall was filled with pictures of Davis, the bebop, cool jazz and jazz fusion icon who died in 1991. He was 65.

 

At the Red Rocks show, starring as Davis was the farthest thing from Cheadle’s mind. Davis wasn’t even his favorite jazz player. As a teenage alto sax player, he was passionate for Parker.

 

He’d play the Parker record “at half the speed, so I could transcribe what the solo was, and figure out what he was doing, the fingering.

 

“I couldn’t play it at that lighting fast speed, but it gave me an understanding and insight to the music. When I was a seventh- or eighth-grader, that’s what I was doing,” he said.

 

His music interest was muted his senior year at Denver’s East High School, and he chose to study acting at the California Institute of the Arts.

 

That led to TV roles on Fame (1986), L.A. LawHill Street BluesNight Court and Golden Palace, CBS’ version of The Golden Girls (1993-94).

 

Movie roles followed: Devil in a Blue Dress, Boogie Nights, Out of Sight, Traffic, Rush Hour 2 and Ocean’s Eleven.

 

Music returned to his life as he walked past aManhattan pawn shop. He “bought a sax, and starting playing again. Since then I’ve messed around with a lot of instruments,” said Cheadle.

 

Making a Miles Davis movie didn’t enter his mind until the jazz great posthumously entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. And it wasn’t his idea.

 

“When Miles was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, they interviewed his nephew (Vince Wilburn) and he said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to do a movie about him, and Don Cheadle is going to play him.’ I had never spoken to him before!”

 

“I started getting phone calls saying, ‘When’s the movie happening?’ And I said, ‘What movie are you talking about?’ And they said, “‘The Miles Davis movie.’ It sort of started to take on a life of its own.”

 

Cheadle met with Wilburn, now a producer on Miles Ahead, to look at biographical scripts written for the family.

 

He was not impressed.

 

Cheadle eventually collaborated with Steven Baigelman, who wrote the Get On Up James Brownmovie starring Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinsonin 42), which hits theaters Aug. 1.

 

Their Miles Ahead screenplay dramatizes the end of the musician’s five-year period out of the public eye in 1979, two years before Cheadle saw him perform.

 

Davis (Cheadle) enlists the help of a Rolling Stone reporter (Ewan McGregor, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Star Wars) in 1979 to retrieve a recording stolen from his home. It flashes back to Davis’s affair with Frances Taylor from 1956-66.

 

“It’s not a cradle-to-grave story. It’s very specific. He keeps returning to one storyline in his past, his relationship with Frances Taylor,” Cheadle said.

 

Cheadle chose Cincinnati because the architecture easily doubles for Manhattan.

 

“It makes sense to be here. This town is a music town,” said Cheadle.

 

For three years, Cheadle has taken trumpet lessons, but he’s “not going to be playing Miles Davis music. We’re going to use Miles’ music predominantly … from the Sony/Columbia (Records) archives. We’ve got outtakes and different versions of songs.”

 

What won’t be heard in Miles Ahead is the stolen song from 1979.

 

“He did one recording during his five-year silent period that was never released. It’s sort of a secret recording, but I’ve heard it,” he said. “If he had wanted it released, it would have been released. He didn’t want it released.”

 

Thank you USA Today:.

 

 

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I’m Feeling George Duke Tonight. R.I.P. Mr. Duke.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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What can I tell you about George Duke that you don’t already know? He’s an icon in the music industry…known as a keyboard pioneer, composer, singer and producer in both jazz and popular mainstream musical genres. Enjoy!!

 

George Duke – Guess You’re Not The One / Smooth Jazz.wmv

 

 

 

 

George Duke ft Eric Benet Superwoman

 

 

 

 

George Duke “A Melody”

 

 

 

 

SWEET BABY – Stanley ClarkeGeorge Duke

 

 

 

 

George Duke – Right On Time

 

 

 

 

George Duke – I Tried To Tell You

 

 

 

 

TSOP ’87 – (Soul Train Theme No. 10: 1987–1989) – George Duke –For Discos Only

 

 

 

 

George Duke – DreamWeaver

 

 

 

George Duke

George Duke was an American musician, known as a keyboard pioneer, composer, singer and producer in both jazz and popular mainstream musical genres.

 

Born: January 12, 1946, San Rafael, CA

 

Died: August 5, 2013, Los Angeles, CA

 

 

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George Duke, Legendary Jazz Keyboardist, Dies At Age 67


 

By Jueseppi B.

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George Duke, the legendary jazz keyboardist, died on Monday, his publicist tells NPR.

 

Duke’s career spanned five decades and he always straddled the line between disparate genres, collaborating with artists such as Miles Davis, Barry Manilow, Frank Zappa, George Clinton and some of Brazil’s top musicians.

 

 

George Duke – DreamWeaver

 

 

 

OUT OF DEVASTATING PAIN COMES DREAMWEAVER FROM KEYBOARDIST/COMPOSER/ARRANGER/PRODUCER GEORGE DUKE.

 

Out of devastating pain comes DreamWeaver, the new disc, which GRAMMY Award-winning keyboardist/composer/arranger/producer George Duke considers his “most honest album in several years.” The making of DreamWeaver occurred after his wife, Corine, passed away. Struck with grief, he found it difficult to work during that period. “I didn’t feel like creating any music, which was odd, because normally that’s the easiest thing for me to do,” he says, “Sometimes, I would walk into the studio and say, ‘Nah. It’s not going to happen.'”

 

Duke’s mojo returned while on a Capital Cruise. During the first couple of days, he didn’t play any music, but did check out some of the other bands. “By the third day, something happened,” he remembers. After returning to his cabin around 4 a.m. from listening to music, inspiration ignited. “I went back on the deck and watched the sun come up. A couple of songs started coming to me; I got out my pen and paper, and started writing.”

 

With the assistance of an illustrious cast of musicians that includes bassists Christian McBride and Stanley Clarke; singers Teena Marie, Lalah Hathaway, Rachelle Ferrell, and Jeffrey Osborne; guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. and the late Jef Lee Johnson; among others, DreamWeaver, set for release July 16, 2013 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, finds Duke emphasizing more instrumentals than in the past as well as concentrating more on his mastery on various synthesizers.

 

Like the bulk of Duke’s discography, DreamWeaver accentuates eclecticism with 15 tracks that range from swinging jazz and sweat funk to gospel-inflected pop and sensual R&B ballads. As the title implies, Duke likens mixing all of the idioms to weaving a sonic fabric. He also compares that stylistic dynamism to life. “Everything is in transition — from hot to cold, from life to death,” he philosophizes, “I wanted to incorporate that kind of thing and include a lot of things that are a part of my life.”

 

The disc begins and ends with allusions of nothingness, starting with the title track, a sparse etude, and finishes with “Happy Trails,” a misty ballad that was at first just dedicated to Duke’s wife, but later gained more emotional poignancy because of the sudden passing of Johnson, whose distinctive guitar work fades out the conclusion.

 

In between, the disc unfolds with the evocative, mid-tempo modern jazz composition, “Stones of Orion,” showcasing Duke’s crystalline piano improvisations along with longtime collaborator Clarke on upright bass; the feisty 15-minute workout, “Burnt Sausage Jam,” a track that Duke refurbished from his 2002 Facing the Music sessions with Johnson, McBride, and drummer Lil’ John Roberts; the frisky gangster-leaning groover, “Round the Way Girl;” the feet-friendly burner, “Jazzmatazz;” and the heartfelt ballad, “Missing You,” another direct tribute to Duke’s wife.

 

“I don’t want people to get the idea that this is a morbid record, because it’s more about celebration,” Duke said.

 

 

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George Duke & Band – You Touch My Brain

 

 

 

 

George Duke – Dukey Stick (in the studio 1978) w/- Sheila E

 

 

 

 

The Billy Cobham – George Duke Band 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival

 

Published on May 17, 2013

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George Duke R.I.P.
12. Januar 1946 in San Rafael, Kalifornien
† 5. August 2013 in Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

George Duke @ Java Jazz Festival 2010

 

Uploaded on Dec 12, 2010

George is an attraction on its own for the Jazz – R&B – Straight Ahead even Pop enthousiast in Jakarta and the World.
Here is a small preview of George as he might perform in “HARMONY UNDER ONE NATION – THE REMARKABLE INDONESIA” at the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival 2011. Enjoy…!!!

 

 

 

 

TheRealFredHammond TheRealFredHammond

 

I Remember George – Tribute to George Duke

 

Published on Aug 6, 2013

To wake up this morning in hear that we lost the legendary George Duke felt as if I lost one of my favorite uncles. To even put this note together is distressing at best. I learned of Unc when I was a kid in junior high. The first album I heard was the George Duke Billy Cobham project. I remember the album cover…it was both of their heads connected to a pair of hands. The album cover was unique but the album was extraordinary. Then there was Uncle George and Uncle Stanley Clarke. These two set the foundation of jazz in my life. I met him a few years ago on the capital jazz cruise and we clicked instantly. After that we hung out a few times and kind of stayed in touch.

 

George Duke personified the ultimate in straight ahead smooth jazz and the funk! The saddest thing to me is that one of my next two albums was going to include a George Duke/Fred Hammond praise & worship CD. Heartbroken is an understatement. I’ve only done one jazz album and it was a tribute to some of the most influential jazz artists in my life. This song called “I Remember George” from my Grandad Turner album.

 

 

 

 

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The Year Of My Birth (1959) In Jazz


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

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John Coltrane – Giant Steps (Album:Giant Steps) 1959

 

 

 

 

 

Take Five – The Dave Brubeck Quartet (1959)

 

 

 

 

 

Ornette Coleman – The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Full Album HD) Jazz

 

 

 

 

 

Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (Full Album) (Full HD 1080p) Jazz HQ Sound

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Pike Blind Man Blind Man

 

 

 

 

 

The Modern Jazz Quartet (Mosaic Records)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black History Moment: Charles “Charlie” “Bird” Parker, Jr.


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

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Charles “Charlie” Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as “Yardbird”and “Bird”, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Miles Davis once said, “You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.”

 

Parker acquired the nickname “Yardbird” early in his career and the shortened form, “Bird”, which continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspired the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as “Yardbird Suite“, “Ornithology“, “Bird Gets the Worm“, and “Bird of Paradise.”

 

Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop,a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and improvisation. Parker introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas, including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber. Many Parker recordings demonstrate his virtuoso playing style and complex melodic lines, sometimes combining jazz with other musical genres, including bluesLatin, and classical.

 

Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual, rather than an entertainer.

 

 

 

Background information
Birth name Charles Parker, Jr.
Also known as Bird, Yardbird,
Zoizeau (in France)
Born August 29, 1920
Kansas CityKansas,

United States

Died March 12, 1955 (aged 34)
New York CityNew York,

United States

Genres Jazzbebop
Occupations Saxophonistcomposer
Instruments Alto saxophone,

tenor saxophone

Years active 1937–1955
Labels SavoyDialVerve
Associated acts Miles DavisMax Roach
Website www.cmgww.com/

music/parker/

Notable instruments
BuescherConnKing and Grafton

alto saxophones

 

 

 

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Childhood

Charlie Parker was born in Kansas CityKansas, and raised in Kansas CityMissouri, the only child of Charles and Addie Parker. Parker attended Lincoln High School. He enrolled in September 1934 and withdrew in December 1935, just before joining the local Musicians Union.

 

Parker began playing the saxophone at age 11, and at age 14 joined his school’s band using a rented school instrument. His father, Charles, was often absent but provided some musical influence; he was a pianist, dancer and singer on the T.O.B.A. circuit. He later became a Pullman waiter or chef on the railways. Parker’s mother Addie worked nights at the local Western Union office. His biggest influence at that time was a young trombone player who taught him the basics of improvisation.

 

 

Early career

In the late 1930’s Parker began to practice diligently. During this period he mastered improvisation and developed some of the ideas that led to bebop. In an interview with Paul Desmond, he said that he spent 3–4 years practicing up to 15 hours a day.

 

Bands led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten undoubtedly influenced Parker. He played with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, Missouri, where he perfected his technique, with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time influenced Parker’s developing style.

 

In 1938, Parker joined pianist Jay McShann‘s territory band. The band toured nightclubs and other venues of the southwest, as well as Chicago and New York City. Parker made his professional recording debut with McShann’s band.

 

As a teenager, Parker developed a morphine addiction while in the hospital, after an automobile accident, and subsequently became addicted to heroin. He continued using heroin throughout his life, which ultimately contributed to his death.

 

 

 

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Charlie Parker with Tommy PotterMax Roach and Miles Davis at Three Deuces, New York, NY

 

 

 

New York City

In 1939 Parker moved to New York City, to pursue a career in music. He held several other jobs as well. He worked for nine dollars a week as a dishwasher at Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, where pianist Art Tatum performed.

 

In 1942 Parker left McShann’s band and played with Earl Hines for one year, whose band included Dizzy Gillespie, who later played with Parker as a duo. Unfortunately, this period is virtually undocumented, due to the strike of 1942–1943 by the American Federation of Musicians, during which time few recordings were made. Parker joined a group of young musicians, and played in after-hours clubs in Harlem, such as Clark Monroe’s Uptown House and Minton’s Playhouse. These young iconoclasts included Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk, guitarist Charlie Christian, and drummer Kenny Clarke. The beboppers’ attitude was summed up in a famous quotation attributed to Monk by Mary Lou Williams: “We wanted a music that they couldn’t play” – “they” being the white bandleaders who had usurped and profited from swing music. The group played in venues on 52nd Street, including Three Deuces and The Onyx. While in New York City, Parker studied with his music teacher, Maury Deutsch.

 

 

The Original Bird – The Best Of Charlie Parker 1944 – 1949

 

Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique, and improvisation. Parker introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas, including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet and somber. Many Parker recordings demonstrate virtuosic technique and complex melodic lines, sometimes combining jazz with other musical genres, including blues, Latin, and classical.

 

 

 

 

 

Bebop

According to an interview Parker gave in the 1950’s, one night in 1939, he was playing “Cherokee” in a jam session with guitarist William “Biddy” Fleet when he hit upon a method for developing his solos that enabled one of his main musical innovations. He realized that the twelve tones of the chromatic scale can lead melodically to any key, breaking some of the confines of simpler jazz soloing.

 

Early in its development, this new type of jazz was rejected by many of the established, traditional jazz musicians who disdained their younger counterparts. The beboppers responded by calling these traditionalists “moldy figs“. However, some musicians, such as Coleman Hawkins and Benny Goodman, were more positive about its development, and participated in jam sessions and recording dates in the new approach with its adherents.

 

Because of the two-year Musicians’ Union ban of all commercial recordings from 1942 to 1944, much of bebop’s early development was not captured for posterity. As a result, it gained limited radio exposure. Bebop musicians had a difficult time gaining widespread recognition. It was not until 1945, when the recording ban was lifted, that Parker’s collaborations with Dizzy GillespieMax RoachBud Powell and others had a substantial effect on the jazz world. One of their first (and greatest) small-group performances together was rediscovered and issued in 2005: a concert in New York’s Town Hall on June 22, 1945. Bebop soon gained wider appeal among musicians and fans alike.

 

On November 26, 1945, Parker led a record date for the Savoy label, marketed as the “greatest Jazz session ever.” Recording as Charlie Parker’s Reboppers, Parker enlisted such sidemen as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis on trumpet, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums. The tracks recorded during this session include “Ko-Ko“, “Billie’s Bounce” and “Now’s the Time“.

 

Shortly afterwards, the Parker/Gillespie band traveled to an unsuccessful engagement at Billy Berg‘s club in Los Angeles. Most of the group returned to New York, but Parker remained in California, cashing in his return ticket to buy heroin. He experienced great hardship in California, eventually being committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital for a six-month period.

 

 

Addiction

Parker’s chronic addiction to heroin caused him to miss gigs and lose work. He frequently resorted to busking on the streets, receiving loans from fellow musicians and admirers, and pawning his saxophones for drug money. Heroin use was rampant in the jazz scene and the drug could be acquired easily.

 

Although he produced many brilliant recordings during this period, Parker’s behavior became increasingly erratic. Heroin was difficult to obtain when he moved to California, where the drug was less abundant, and Parker began to drink heavily to compensate for it. A recording for the Dial label from July 29, 1946, provides evidence of his condition. Prior to this session, Parker drank a quart of whiskey. According to the liner notes of Charlie Parker on Dial Volume 1, Parker missed most of the first two bars of his first chorus on the track, “Max Making Wax.” When he finally did come in, he swayed wildly and once spun all the way around, away from his microphone.

 

On the next tune, “Lover Man“, producer Ross Russell physically supported Parker. On “Bebop” (the final track Parker recorded that evening) he begins a solo with a solid first eight bars. On his second eight bars, however, Parker begins to struggle, and a desperate Howard McGhee, the trumpeter on this session, shouts, “Blow!” at Parker. Charles Mingus considered this version of “Lover Man” to be among Parker’s greatest recordings, despite its flaws. Nevertheless, Parker hated the recording and never forgave Ross Russell for releasing it. He re-recorded the tune in 1951 for Verve.

 

When Parker was released from the hospital, he was clean and healthy, and proceeded to do some of the best playing and recording of his career. Before leaving California, he recorded “Relaxin’ at Camarillo”, in reference to his hospital stay. He returned to New York, resumed his addiction to heroin and recorded dozens of sides for the Savoy and Dial labels, which remain some of the high points of his recorded output. Many of these were with his so-called “classic quintet” including trumpeter Miles Davis and drummer Max Roach.

 

 

 

Charlie Parker with Strings

A longstanding desire of Parker’s was to perform with a string section. He was a keen student of classical music, and contemporaries reported he was most interested in the music and formal innovations of Igor Stravinsky and longed to engage in a project akin to what later became known as Third Stream, a new kind of music, incorporating both jazz and classical elements as opposed to merely incorporating a string section into performance of jazz standards.

 

On November 30, 1949, Norman Granz arranged for Parker to record an album of ballads with a mixed group of jazz and chamber orchestra musicians. Six master takes from this session comprised the album Charlie Parker with Strings: “Just Friends“, “Everything Happens to Me“, “April in Paris“, “Summertime“, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was“, and “If I Should Lose You“. The sound of these recordings is rare in Parker’s catalog. Parker’s improvisations are, in comparison to his usual work, more distilled and economical. His tone is darker and softer than on his small-group recordings, and the majority of his lines are beautiful embellishments on the original melodies rather than harmonically based improvisations.

 

 

 

Charlie Parker – Summertime (Jazz Instrumental)

 

 

 

These are among the few recordings Parker made during a brief period when he was able to control his heroin habit, and his sobriety and clarity of mind are evident in his playing. Parker stated that, of his own records, Bird With Strings was his favorite. Although using classical music instrumentation with jazz musicians was not entirely original, this was the first major work where a composer of bebop was matched with a string orchestra.

 

 

 

Jazz at Massey Hall

In 1953, Parker performed at Massey Hall in TorontoCanada, joined by Gillespie, Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach. Unfortunately, the concert clashed with a televised heavyweight boxing match between Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott, so was poorly attended. Mingus recorded the concert, resulting in the album Jazz at Massey Hall. At this concert, he played a plastic Grafton saxophone. At this point in his career he was experimenting with new sounds and materials. Parker himself explained the purpose of the plastic saxophone in a May 9, 1953 broadcast from Birdland and does so again in subsequent May 1953 broadcast.

 

Parker is known to have played several saxophones, including the Conn 6M, The Martin Handicraft and Selmer Model 22. Parker is also known to have performed with a King “Super 20″ saxophone. Parker’s King Super 20 saxophone was made specially for him in 1947.

 

 

Death

 

Parker

 

 

 

Parker died in the suite of his friend and patron Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City while watching The Dorsey Brothers‘ Stage Show on television. The official causes of death were lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer but Parker also had an advanced case of cirrhosis and had suffered a heart attack. The coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker’s 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.

 

Parker had been living since 1950 with Chan Richardson, the mother of his son Baird and his daughter Pree (who died as an infant of cystic fibrosis). He considered Chan his wife; however he never formally married her, nor did he divorce his previous wife, Doris (whom he had married in 1948). This complicated the settling of Parker’s inheritance and would ultimately serve to frustrate his wish to be quietly interred in New York City.

 

It was well known that Parker never wanted to return to Kansas City, even in death. Parker had told Chan that he did not want to be buried in the city of his birth; that New York was his home. Dizzy Gillespie paid for the funeral arrangements and organized a lying-in-state, a Harlem procession officiated by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., as well as a memorial concert, before Parker’s body was flown back to Missouri, in accordance with his mother’s wishes. Parker’s widow criticized Parker’s family for giving him a Christian funeral even though they knew he was a confirmed atheist. Parker was buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Missouri, in a hamlet known as Blue Summit.

 

Parker’s estate is managed by CMG Worldwide.

 

 

Music

Parker’s style of composition involved interpolation of original melodies over pre-existing jazz forms and standards, a practice still common in jazz today. Examples include “Ornithology” (“How High The Moon“) and “Yardbird Suite“, the vocal version of which is called “What Price Love“, with lyrics by Parker. The practice was not uncommon prior to bebop; however, it became a signature of the movement as artists began to move away from arranging popular standards and compose their own material.

 

While tunes such as “Now’s The Time,” “Billie’s Bounce,” “Au Privave,” “Barbados,” “Relaxin’ at Camarillo,” “Bloomdido,” and “Cool Blues” were based on conventional twelve-bar blues changes, Parker also created a unique version of the 12-bar blues for tunes such as “Blues for Alice“, “Laird Baird”, and “Si Si”. These unique chords are known popularly as “Bird Changes“. Like his solos, some of his compositions are characterized by long, complex melodic lines and a minimum of repetition although he did employ the use of repetition in some tunes, most notably “Now’s The Time”.

 

Parker contributed greatly to the modern jazz solo, one in which triplets and pick-up notes were used in unorthodox ways to lead into chord tones, affording the soloist with more freedom to use passing tones, which soloists previously avoided. Parker was admired for his unique style of phrasing and innovative use of rhythm. Via his recordings and the popularity of the posthumously published Charlie Parker Omnibook, Parker’s uniquely identifiable style dominated jazz for many years to come.

 

 

Jazz The Charlie Parker Sessions (1950)

 

 

 

 

 

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“Bird Lives” sculpture by Robert Graham in Kansas City, Missouri

 

 

 

Musical tributes

 

  • Lennie Tristano‘s overdubbed solo piano piece “Requiem” was recorded in tribute to Parker shortly after his death.
  • Street musician Moondog wrote his famous “Bird’s Lament” in his memory.
  • The Californian ensemble Supersax harmonized many of Parker’s improvisations for a five-piece saxophone section
  • Saxophonist Phil Woods recorded a tribute concert for Parker
  • Weather Report‘s jazz fusion track and highly acclaimed big band standard “Birdland“, from the Heavy Weather album (1977), was a dedication by bandleader Joe Zawinul to both Charlie Parker and the New York 52nd Street club itself
  • In 2003 various artists including Serj Tankian and Dan the Automator put out Bird Up: The Charlie Parker Remix Project. This album created new songs by remixing Charlie Parker’s originals.
  • The biographical song “Parker’s Band” was recorded by Steely Dan on its 1974 album Pretzel Logic.
  • The avant-garde trombonist George Lewis recorded Homage to Charles Parker (1979)
  • Sparks released the song “(When I Kiss You) I Hear Charlie Parker Playing” on their 1994 album Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins
  • Duane Allman devised a unique slide guitar technique that enabled him to mimic the sounds of chirping birds, stating in at least one interview that this was his tribute to Parker.
  • The Only World by poet Lynda Hull includes the poem “Ornithology” about Charlie Parker.
  • Refused included live recordings of Parker at the end of the song “Liberation Frequency” and transitioned it into “The Deadly Rhythm” on the album The Shape of Punk to Come.

 

 

 

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Charlie Parker Residence

From 1950 to 1954, Parker and his common-law wife, Chan Richardson, lived in the ground floor of the townhouse at 151 Avenue B, across from Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan‘s East Village. The Gothic Revival building, which was built c.1849, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, and was designated a New York City landmark in 1999. Avenue B, between East 7th and 10th Streets, was renamed Charlie Parker Place in 1992.

 

 

 

Other tributes

  • The 1957 story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin features a jazz/blues playing virtuoso who names Bird as the “greatest” jazz musician, whose style he hopes to emulate.
  • In 1949, the New York night club Birdland was named in his honor. Three years later, George Shearing wrote “Lullaby of Birdland“, named for both Parker and the nightclub.
  • A memorial to Parker was dedicated in 1999 in Kansas City at 17th Terrace and The Paseo, near the American Jazz Museum located at 18th and Vine, featuring a 10-foot (3 m) tall bronze head sculpted by Robert Graham.
  • The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is a free two-day music festival that takes place every summer on the last weekend of August in Manhattan, New York City, at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem and Tompkins Square Park in the Lower East Side, sponsored by the non-profit organization City Parks Foundation. The festival marked its 17th anniversary in 2009.
  • In one of his most famous short story collections, Las armas secretas (The Secret Weapons), Julio Cortázar dedicated “El perseguidor” (“The Pursuer”) to the memory of Charlie Parker. This piece examines the last days of Johnny, a drug-addict saxophonist, through the eyes of Bruno, his biographer. Some qualify this story as one of Cortazar’s masterpieces in the genre.
  • A biographical film called Bird, starring Forest Whitaker as Parker and directed by Clint Eastwood, was released in 1988.
  • In 1984, legendary modern dance choreographer Alvin Ailey created the piece For Bird – With Love in honor of Parker. The piece chronicles his life, from his early career to his failing health.
  • In 2005, the Selmer Paris saxophone manufacturer commissioned a special “Tribute to Bird” alto saxophone, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Charlie Parker (1955–2005).
  • Parker’s performances of “I Remember You” and “Parker’s Mood” (recorded for the Savoy label in 1948, with the Charlie Parker All Stars, comprising Parker on alto sax, Miles Davis on trumpet, John Lewis on piano, Curley Russell on bass, and Max Roach on drums) were selected by Harold Bloom for inclusion on his shortlist of the “twentieth-century American Sublime”, the greatest works of American art produced in the 20th century. A vocalese version of “Parker’s Mood” was a popular success for King Pleasure.
  • The Oris Watch Company created a limited edition timepiece in Charlie Parker’s name. The watch features the word “bird” at the 4 o’clock hour, in honor of Parker’s nickname and signifying “Jazz, until 4 in the morning”.
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat created many pieces to honour Charlie Parker, including Charles the FirstCPRKR and Discography I.
  • In 1995, Live Bird, a one-man play about Charlie Parker, written and performed by actor/saxophonist Jeff Robinson, made its premier at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones, wrote a children’s book entitled Ode to a High Flying Bird as a tribute to Parker. Watts has cited Parker as a major influence in his life as a young man learning to play jazz.

 

 

Charlie Parker Quintet at Birdland – Ornithology

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Parker Live Jam Session 1952 ~ Scrapple From The Apple

 

 

 

 

Recorded: Howard Theater, Washington, DC October 18, 1952

Personnel:
Charlie Parker – Alto Sax
Charlie Byrd – Guitar
Bill Shanahan – Piano
Merton Oliver – Bass
Don Lamond – Drums
Unknown – Bongos

 

 

 

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