Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

Charlie „Bird “ or „Yardbird “Parker (* 29. August 1920 as Charles Christopher Parker in Kansas town center, Kansas; † 12. March 1955 in New York) was an US-American jazz musician (old saxophonist and composer).

Beside Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet) and Thelonious Monk (piano) Parker of one is the creator and most outstanding interpreters of the Bebop and is considered therefore as the light shape decaying of the jazz. It has those nearly 100-jährige jazz history so stronglyaffected that it is divided usually into one era before and one according to it. Its innovative guide roller with the emergence decaying of the jazz is comparable with the meaning Louis Armstrongs for the Traditional jazz.

Table of contents


beginnings in Kansas town center

Parkerin Kansas town center was born and had the luck to grow up in one of the jazz centers at that time of the entire USA. Because under mayors Thomas the PEND suppl. branch flowered many Cabarets and night club up, until it was arrested 1939 because of tax evasion. Already as a boyParker began to play on a Altsaxofon held together with adhesive strips and rubber bands which had bought him its nut/mother. Owing to its gift it made progress rapid and played already soon professionally with various volume, among other things for the Deans OF Swing. Bassist of genes Ramey became one of its friends, with which he also later played volume of pianist Jay McShann in that. Parker could have night to be played for night some the prominent Saxofonisten, among them Herschel Evans, Coleman Hawkins as well as beIdol, the Tenorsaxofonisten Lester Young.

After Russells Biografie had Parker on a Jam session with members of the COUNTs Basie - bend to volume a kind key experience: It played at that time so badly that Schlagzeuger Jo Jones before rage its impact things basin on the floorthrew. Afterwards Parker could be informed during a commitment at the Lake Taneycomo of the guitarist of its Combo in harmony teachings. According to eye-witnesses it was thereafter as changed: From a little competent Saxofonisten with miserablem clay/tone it had itself into an able andexpression-strong musician transforms, who could take up it now even with far more experienced Saxofonisten.

to break-through as musicians

after stopovers in that volume of Jay McShann, bend volume of Earl Hines, where it Trompeter and Arrangeur Dizzy Gillespie became acquainted with, and to the innovative bend volume of Billy Eckstine created Parker 1945 together with Gillespie the first Bebop - Combo. With its energetic rhythms and its Harmonik innovative for the jazz it placed a clear refusal against the establishedSwing and was at first violently criticized therefore also:Cab Calloway about adversely called its style „Chinese music “. To end of the forties-years the Bebop had become generally accepted however as the definite new jazz style and the era of the modern jazz had introduced.

After Dizzy Gillespie dissolved the volume 1946 during a stay in Hollywood, Parker remained as an only volume member one year in California and arranged there own volume, in that first the young Miles Davis, after it Howard McGhee -a pupil Gillespies - which trumpet took over. Here he signed also a first disk contract with the dial label of Ross Russell - the later bio count - and took up a number of its most important pieces: among them the Yardbird Suite, Moose TheMooche and A Night in Tunisia with the famous Altsaxofon BREAK (famous alto BREAK) in the first Take.

After a photograph session, with which he brought among other things Lover in one, Parker suffered a Nervenzusammenbruch and had in-supplied to the Camarillo State hospitalbecomes, where he remained some months. To its dismissal it returned again to New York and arranged there a new Quintett among other things with Miles Davis. This received a firm commitment in the Three Deuces on at that time famous 52nd Street. From this time some important photographs, for example from Billie's Bounce, originate Donna Lee - composes from Miles Davis - and Koko. There took over however Gillespie, which controlled high tones and fast passages more surely than Davis,the trumpet part. 1948 had the Charlie Parker Quintett among other things a commitment in the Royal Roost, where many appearances live were along-cut and published later.

1949 followed some photographs with Streichern, oboe and harp, those under the title Charlie Parker With stringeron VERVE were published. Of it Just Friends ranks among the outstanding photographs Parkers, how he emphasized. It appears here in solistischer maximum form and receives besides by a very beautiful piano-solo company kongeniale of Stan Freeman, those otherwiseleaves forgotten to very commercial süsslichen Studio arrangements.

In the next Parker Quintett stood young white Trompeter talk for Rodney in „the front LINE “, which had played before with as renowned volume as the Claude Thornhill Orchestra and with Woody Herman. At the Piano sat now Aluminium Haig, bass played Tommy Potter, Schlagzeug of one the best young Bebop Drummer, Roy Haynes. Of these volumes is there - apart from a set of Studioaufnahmen - a very informative live-with cut, that as Bird RK pc. Nick'sone published. There - as later also of Dean Benedetti, a devoted park he fan of the first hour - by the Soli only Parkers Saxofon passages are to be heard. This obvious partly one at that time already very much „free “play way, so that this platean absolute „must have “for each park he fan is.

The volume tourte then by the Southern States of the USA. There still none were tolerated at that time to mix-race-triumph volume, so that the white pianist replaces aluminium Haig by the black walter Bishop and talksRodney as „Albino talk “- thus white-membranous black ones - one announced. Because of the miserablen hygenic conditions for black of volume this Parkers was last tour by the Southern States. Russell describes this episode in detail in its Biografie.

From the end opened 1949and after Parkers pointed names designated „Birdland “come still some interesting live-with cuts of the fifties, like also further live-photographs of Charlie Parker With stringer. A concert, which to Parker 1953 in the Massey resound, forms their conclusion“in Toronto and the Charles Mingus, its bassist at that time, along and later on its own label DEBUT gave published. To jazz RK Massey resound is considered as a kind „to swan singing “of the Bebop, there the trend in the meantime to of Miles Davishad gone to introduced cool jazz.


Parker was probably already for its five tenth Lebensjahr heroin dependent (so Russell). Often it became because of its incalculable behavior on the stage from current play contracts to dismiss, so that it ever more rarely firmCommitments got. Thus it saw its star shrinking for approximately 1950 slowly, but surely. These last Lebensjahre must have been very depressing for it.

Charlie Parker died to 12. March 1955 in New Yorker hotels the Stanhope in the Suite thatBaroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, a Gönnerin of black jazz musicians. It had become only 35 years old. The physician, who it for dead explained, is to have the numbers for exchanged held and its age on 53 years estimated. So strongly hadParkers excessive life-style its traces leave.

Deeply impressed of Charlie Parkers death set Moondog for it with the famous Bird's Lament a musical monument.

the music Charlie Parkers

Parkers play way is coined/shaped by an extremely lively, mobile, a idea-richand Melodik, often in connection with a vibrating, virtuosen jerkily working Rhythmik. Therefore its melody lines are particularly partly only in fragments recognizable on old photographs.

Beginning of the 40's was exhausted at that time not only the Swing enormously popular in the USAever more in plateful arrangements and stereotyped harmonies. The frequently hit-like topics continued to produce Soli with often typical, foreseeable idioms in the framework, well comprehensible tension elbows.

Bored Parker with other young musicians looked for the more creative development for new musical ways,permitted. Thus „“it divided the large, after-singable elbows of the Swingmelodien into louder smaller, motivische fragments, a technology, which already emerges in „the Diminuation “of the high baroque. The speeds become often racing fast, those Soli exist therefore often out almost halsbrecherisch snapClay/tone cascades. These are however harmonious and rhythmically always conclusive and never lose the purchase to the chords lying to reason. This reached Parker by special scales, which it already in Kansas - during its retreat from the public sessions andsecret practicing phase - developed. It extended a normal scale over „leads “- or „sliding tones “, which applied in the Swing as this harmonious, but its to end left runs and cliches on rhythmic emphasis. In addition also the “interval of the increased Quarte bad in the Swing „belonged,their downward jump loud-pictorial „-Bop “to say seems. It at the same time integrates the Vitalität of a strong Bluesfeelings into its Soli.

Parkers Improvisationstil changed the usual Formelsprache of the Swing also in the view of the harmonies: These became with more option (auxiliary tones in the chord)enriched and changed more frequently. The hypnotische suction of its Saxofonspiels produced a reciprocal effect with its Mitmusikern: Thus for instance the Schlagzeuger Kenny Clarke could be inspired too more largely more rhythmically, the pianist Thelonious Monk to large harmonious complexity. Parker led these elements thenagain on completely own way together and moved within this created musical Idioms with a singular skill and elegance.

Also as a composer Parker for jazz history became determining. Its pieces developed often from improvisations over long well-known topics.It used simply the harmony stand of a standard, in order to invent over it - usually spontaneously and often only in the Studio - a completely new, again topic stimmiges in itself. It did not hold itself usually thereby up, this toonote, so that it employed countless inspired musician fans and editors with „hearing “. One of its Wahlsprüche was:„Learn the damned CHANGEs tons forget them! “ (Learn the condemned chords to forget around it!)

Gegenüberstellung von How high the moon und Ornithology
Confrontation of How high the moon and Ornithology

Ornithology about is quasi an elegant solo over How High The Moon, its harmony changes „accelerated “. (Bild:Audiobutton.png )

Bird OF of Paradise is a variation over universe The Things You of acres. Also the titles outer Privave, Anthropology or Confirmationharmoniously extended Bluesformen with “Themenphrasierung is rhythmically refined „transferred. Frequently Parkers topics also rhythm the CHANGEs in such a way specified of George Gershwins hit I are appropriate got for Rhythm to reason: so for example with Celerity, Chasing the Bird, Kim, Moosethe Mooch, passport haven, Steeplechase and different one.

Melodie und Harmonien aus Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice
Melody and harmonies from Charlie Parker's Blues for Alice

Blues for Alice for example is a harmoniously extended Bluesform, the so-called „Parker Blues “: During the first Dur chord in the conventional Blues the smallSeventh contained, is it here replaced by a large seventh (blue first part in the hearing example marks in the note example. The remaining chords serve as cadence-like transition of a main chord in the next, which the kinds of clay/tone connect by a harmonious river. Soit succeeded to Parker to merge Blues and functional Harmonik with one another. (Bild:Audiobutton.png )

At the beginning its play worked brand-new, in a revolutionary manner and almost applied for the Heroen of the Swingära as Frevel. It opposed a music to its in-usual and dancable style, those thatExpectation attitude of the public contradicted. The Bebop was unsuitable with its whirling melody contractions and rapid rhythms as dance music and as this harmonious and chaotically was felt. Parker did not understand itself differently as many black and white musicians at that time than entertainers, onlythe desires of the listener mass to serve had. It played quite extravertiert and reacted often directly on acclamations on the stage, saw themselves however as an artist who continual looked for its own, individual musical expression. This brought it at the beginning of only fewFan and musician friends, while the broad public rejected it first schroff. Like that the Bebop was still by no means popular in its bloom time between 1945-1950 and became generally accepted only gradually also commercially.

Only Charlie Parker gave the dominant factor to the Altsaxofonsolistische role in the Kombo jazz, which in this measure in bending volume of the 30's not yet could have it. Thus it gave also new impulses for larger to different jazz instruments - above all Schlagzeug, piano, guitar and later the Hammond organ -solistische liberties: Many Trommler played from now on „more melodischer “, the harmony givers more rhythmically. Thus again defined Parker the jazz as group-dynamic event, which in-loads to undreamt-of adventures and discoveries and recovers its original Vitalität and expression strength. It had a clear, sharplyaccented clay/tone without Vibrato and a highly virtuose technology. Therefore it is today still the Altsaxofon, that in an educated manner the outstanding and unsurpassed genius affected and that many jazz musicians nacheifern. It has the jazz from the obligations of the maintenance musicled out and thus as independent art form 20. Century if not „“, so nevertheless emancipated establishes. It applies therefore at musicians, professional world and public as the all projecting founder father decaying of the jazz.

humans Charlie Parker

contemporarydescribe Parker as a highly sensitive and passionate, but extremely precipitous, torn and to extreme behavior bending character. One of his bio counts, Robert George Reisner, describes it in such a way:

„Gentle-courageously, cunningly, politely, bezaubernd and generally teuflisch. It talked me after the mouth,weighed me in security, and then the large betrayal came at one time. It had made itself its own laws. Its arrogance was enormously, its obedience deep. “

Parkers whole life was affected of its heroin dependence, those in the long run also to its earlyDeath led. Many legends tell of its Sex and Fresssucht, drug excesses, ignited hotel rooms and arrests, in addition, tragic collapses. It undertook several attempted suicides, one of it 1952 with Jodtinktur after the early death of its daughter Pree. As Junkie it could do itsCareer as professional musicians often do not control: Occasionally it still sold the rights at disk photographs before the admission for the equivalent of a dose heroin. It set for its Dealer Emry Bird with the piece of Moose The Mooche (calls after its pointed names)a musical monument. The photographs of 29. Are considered to July 1946, with which Loverman and The Gipsy were brought in, as a tragic document of its craze and its purge: Here obviously a Parker completely drunk of heavy withdrawal symptoms more troubled and is toohear, which can play only „lallend “Saxofon. The jazz club Birdland gave him 1954 house prohibition, after it had delivered a controversy with the likewise drug-dependent pianist Bud Powell on open stage and had broken afterwards its appearance off.

Parker was altogether three timesmarried, toward end of its life with two women at the same time: Chan and Doris. These argued after its death in unworthy way about place and formalities of its funeral as well as about its inheritance. His Mrs. Doris geehelichte first succeeded anddid not leave it against his testamentary will in New York, but in Kansas town center buried.


  • ah-Leu-Cha
  • Anthropology
  • outer Privave
  • at OSCAR for Treadwell
  • Another Hairdo
  • bake Home Blues
  • Ballade
  • Barbados
  • Billie´s Bounce
  • Bird GET the Worm
  • Bird OF of Paradise
  • Bloomdido
  • Blue Bird
  • Blues (nearly)
  • Blues for Alice
  • Buzzy
  • Card board
  • Celerity
  • Chasing the Bird
  • Cheryl
  • Chi Chi
  • Confirmation
  • Constellation
  • Cosmic Rays
  • Dewey Square
  • Dexterity
  • various
  • Donna Lee (with Miles Davis)
  • Kim
  • K.C. Blues
  • Klaun Stance
  • Ko-CO
  • Laird Baird
  • Leap Frog
  • Marmaduke
  • Merry go Round
  • Moose the Mooche
  • Mohawk
  • My little Suede Shoes
  • Now´s the Time
  • Ornithology
  • Parker´s Mood
  • passport haven
  • Perhaps
  • Quasimodo
  • talk CROSS
  • Relaxing with Lee
  • Scrapple from the Apple
  • segment
  • Shawnuff (with Dizzy Gillespie)
  • She red one
  • SI SI
  • Steeplechase
  • The Bird
  • Thriving from A reef
  • visas
  • Warming UP A reef
  • Yardbird Suite


  • Jay McShann Orchestra: „Hootie Blues “ (1939), „Honeysuckle rose “ (1940; Station KFBI, Wichita); both with Charlie Parker [as].
  • Charlie Parker et.aluminium:„Cherokee “ (live-with cut of 1941/42; possibly either from Monroe's Uptown House or the Savoy Ballroom in New York).
  • Talk Norvo Septet: „Congo Blues “, „Slam Slam Blues “ (1945; with Charlie Parker [as], Dizzy Gillespie [tp] and. A.).
  • „The Charlie ParkerStory “, Savoy, 1945 (best Quintett photographs with Miles Davies, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, max of Roach)
  • „The Immortal Charlie Parker “, Savoy, 1944-1948 (CD-Sampler with all jazz sizes, with which Ch.Parker played at that time)
  • „The Complete dial session “, Spotlite, 1946-1947 (CD-Sampler, s.o.)
  • „The Complete CharlieParker on Verve “, Verve, 1946-1954 (s.o.)
  • „The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings “, mosaic, 1947-1948 (only with a primitive tape-unit taken up, more than 40 years verschollen, „the Qumran - writings “of the jazz)
  • „Bird RK pc. Nicks “(pc. Nicholas arena, NYC, 18.February 1950; with talk Rodney [tp], aluminium Haig [p], Tommy Potter [b] and Roy Haynes [dr]).
  • Charlie Parker of all star: „Blue 'n Boogie “, „Anthropology “, „Round Midnight “, „A Night in Tunisia “ (1951; Live-admission from the Birdland, also Dizzy Gillespie [tp], Bud Powell [p], Tommy Potter [b] and Roy Haynes [dr] and a memorable introduction of the Diskjockeys „Symphony “simmer Torin).
  • „To jazz RK Massey resound “, prestige, 1953: „Salt Peanuts “and. A. (1953; Charlie Parker [as], Dizzy Gillespie [tp], BudPowell [p], Charles Mingus [b], max of Roach [dr]).


  • Ross Russell: „Bird live one. The High Time and hard would run OF Charlie (Yardbird) Parker. “1973, ISBN 0306806797.
  • German: „Bird lives! The history of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. “Vienna,Hannibal publishing house 1985, illustrates with Diskografie (out of print).
The Charlie Parker Biografie. Excitingly written, with many details, in addition, a few material errors. By musicians such as Miles Davis therefore violently one criticizes. Wrongly also the characterisation is Dean Benedettis and its alleged useof steel strip machines for its park-up-taken (it the lighters were actual acetate cutters and magnetic tapes on paper basis, which can be transported).
  • Studs Terkel: Giant of the jazz. Two thousand-unity, Frankfurt 2005 ISBN 3-86150-723-4
  • Robert Reisner: „Bird. The putting OF Charlie Parker. “There Capo PAPER-bake, new ones York 1962, with Diskografie, ISBN 0306800691
arranges interviews with acquaintance Charlie Parkers very well.
  • Carl Woideck: „Charlie Parker. His music and would run. “Ann Arbor, University OF Michigan press XIV, 1996; illustrated, with note examples. ISBN 0472103709
  • the same: „The Charlie ParkerCompanion. Six of decades OF commentary. “Schirmer XII, New York 1998, ISBN 0028647149
  • Jamey but pay (publisher): „The Charlie Parker Omnibook. “Atlantic music corporation (1. Edition 1946!), 1978
Transcription of the most famous solo passages Parkers. Available in different kinds of clay/tone, with Begleit CD (Stereo: Soloist can are faded out), with indication of the original disk photographs. For jazz musicians must.
  • Julio Cortázar “the pursuer” 1958 Editorial Sudamericana Buenos Aires; Suhrkamp publishing house Frankfurt/Main 1978 ISBN 3-937793-20-8


before its actor and direction career appeared to Eastwood in Oakland as a pianist in night clubs. So he could experience Parker still on the stage. Eastwood had also the luck, for its film still alsoto be able to talk its widow Chan Parker. Its Hommage at Bird, which financed Eastwood, applies with the connoisseurs of the subject as the best jazz film at all. Disputed only the procedure was, the authentic solo voice of Parker with one with some jazz fansto support today's study whether and. The film received only a OSCAR for the best clay/tone, Whitaker received for its representation the golden palm from Cannes. Eastwood was distinguished with that golden Globe for the best direction 1988. (arte over thatFilm „Bird “)

Web on the left of

This article was taken up to the list of exzellenter articles.


  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)