Charlie Parker

Topics: Charlie Parker, Jazz, Dizzy Gillespie Pages: 4 (1476 words) Published: November 22, 2005
Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas on August 29, 1920. He was born under the name Charles Christopher Parker. His father did not play a huge role in his life and left Charlie and his mother after Charlie was born. Charlie's mother, Adelaide "Addie" Bailey, was a strong independent woman who was half African American and half Choctaw Indian. She soon moved the family to Kansas City, Missouri. Charlie then began going to school. In 1931, Charlie went to Lincoln High School in Kansas City where he played in the school band. Around this time Charlie started experimenting with Kansas City's jazz scene. In 1933, Charlie asked his mother to buy him an alto saxophone and she bought him a used one for $45 dollars. Charlie had no proper music experience, the only experience he really did have was the short period of time playing in the school band. He would learn everything he could by sneaking into clubs, standing in the doorway, and trying to memorize everything that came out from the nightclubs. When Charlie turned 15, he decided he was going to try his luck as a professional jazz musician. Kansas City was a hopping city at the time and soon became one of the best jazz cities in the Southwest. Charlie soon learned about a drug he would never forget. He was first introduced to heroin at 15 in 1935. A friend introduced him to the drug, and he never looked back. In November of 1936, Charlie was on his was to a job in the Ozark Mountains when the car he was in slide on some ice and crashed. One of the band members died and another was seriously injured. Charlie broke a couple ribs and fractured his spine. These injuries are what seemed to set Charlie into a full-fledged junkie. He started using heroin more and more as a way of dealing with the pain from the accident. Then it just got worse and worse. In 1937, Charlie met Jay McShann and Henry "Buster" Smith. Jay McShann became a friend and Henry "Buster" Smith became sort of a mentor. Henry...
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