The SummerStage Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2022 celebrates the legacy of the Jazz saxophonist who was a leading figure in the creation of Bebop (Modern Jazz) in 1940s New York City.
30th Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2022
The 30th Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2022 SummerStage is at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem and Tompkins Square Park in the East Village on Friday-Sunday, August 26-28, 2022. This is some of the Latin part.
- Joaquin Pozo y La Clave Suena play Cuban Jazz in the Garden at El Sol Brillante in Manhattan’s East Village on Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at 5:30pm. Free. cityparksfoundation.org 🇨🇺
- Archie Shepp and Jason Moran featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant play Jazz, Chilean Melissa Aldana plays tenor sax, and Italian Pasquale Grasso plays be-bop guitar at Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan’s East Village on Sunday, August 28, 2022 from 3-7pm. Free. cityparksfoundation.org 🇺🇸🇭🇹🇫🇷🇨🇱🇮🇹
Charlie Parker’s sound ranges from the depth of pearlized paint to a full ruckus. When he plays, it often makes you stop, listen and marvel. The legend was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920. He played in Jazz bands there and moved to New York City in 1939.
He got his nickname “Yardbird,” later shortened to “Bird” as a joke while touring. Birdland Jazz club is named after him because he used to play at the original venue on 52nd Street.
Parker was an intense artist. He would dream something up and work on it until he got it. While looking for different chord changes in his solos, Bird figured out that off a 12-tone chromatic scale, he could jump into any key. This was a key innovation of Bebop Jazz. Nobody had done that before.
The 1940s were a pivotal time in history. Nuclear weapons and modern warfare were developed for World War II. Meanwhile Bebop (Modern Jazz) and Cubop (Latin Jazz) were developed for the people. Nuclear technology manipulates very small things to great effect. Parker did the same with his music. He had a natural talent for getting very small or very big where quantum effects can produce surprising results.
From 1950-54, Charlie Parker lived at 151 Avenue B across from Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. In his honor, Avenue B between 7th & 10th St is called “Charlie Parker Place.”
Parker died young at 34 at the former Stanhope Hotel at 995 Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1955.
Bird’s vision continues to impact artists. In the 1970s, Chucho Valdés and Paquito D’Rivera wanted to bop, but Jazz wasn’t allowed in Cuba then. So they said we’re not playing Jazz, we’re playing Cuban folk music. They added an Afro-Cuban rhythm section, Rock elements and bopped as Irakere, an important Cuban Jazz band at the intersection of Jazz, Rock, and Folk. Irakere’s innovations led to Timba, the evolution of Cuban Son dance music. The band’s music is still marvelous. One moment you’re here, the next you’re way over there, in the same way that bebop (and quantum physics) jumps all over. A lot of Irakere’s bop was inspired by Charlie Parker.
Bird was completely free, and his artistry freed us all. He’s gone, but his spirit will never leave us. When a Jazz horn goes off on solo and seems to play every possible note in the most beautifully organized way, that’s Charlie Parker, free as a bird.