Photo credits: William P Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S Gershwin Fund Collection
Additional photo credits: Music Division, Library Of Congress
Charles “Charlie” Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), commonly known as “Yardbird” and “Bird”, was a jazz saxophonist and composer from the United States.
He was a widely regarded jazz soloist and a pivotal player in the creation of bebop, a style of jazz defined by quick syncopation, technical ability, and improvising. Parker pioneered new melodic concepts like as high tempo chords, novel variations on shifted chords, and tonic replacements.
His intonation fluctuated between clear and incisive and gentle and solemn. Numerous Parker albums showcase his brilliant performing technique and intricate sonorities, which often include elements of various creative styles, especially blues, Latin, and classical.
Parker earned the moniker “Yardbird” sooner in his tenure; this moniker, along with its shorter version, “Bird,” which he used throughout his lifetime, influenced the names of many Parker pieces, including “Yardbird Suite,” “Ornithology,” “Bird Gets the Worm,” and “Bird of Paradise.”
He became an idol for the hipster counterculture and subsequently the “Beat Generation” —- epitomizing the saxophonist as an unflinching artist and philosopher —- rather than only a spectacle.