Charlie Parker

Topics: Jazz, Charlie Parker, Swing music Pages: 2 (469 words) Published: December 3, 2005
Charlie Parker (1920 – 1955)
Charlie Parker spent his childhood in Kansas City, Missouri, one of the hottest jazz spots in the country. His father was looking for jobs as a song and dance man so he moved the family there to find work. Unable to find a job, Charlie's dad left to go work on the railroad. He had to travel long distances and was gone a lot of the time. In the end, he left the family altogether and Charlie's mom had to provide for the two of them. Sometimes, she worked two or three jobs to give Charlie everything he needed and wanted. When his mom worked at night, Charlie would go out and listen to jazz around town. Charlie started playing an alto saxophone when he was twelve years old. He taught himself by listening to jazz musicians. He was able to play music and joined his first band when he was 14. Because he never had lessons or formal training, he often struggled playing music. Eventually, with proper training and practice Charlie mastered the basics. He memorized the records made by the tenor saxophonist Lester Young, until he could play them all from memory. Charlie practiced up to 14 hours a day until he could play anything he wanted. Unlike other high school kids, Charlie spent his days practicing his sax and preparing for his performances with swing bands. At night, he would often visit Kansas City's jazz clubs to see famous performers. He was passionate about music as a young man. Charlie moved to New York City after a short stay in Chicago. He found work playing in swing bands but started experimenting with his own style of playing. Late at night, he would gather with other musicians who wanted to play fast-paced, fiery music. This jazz style would later become known as bebop. At first many of the older jazz artists and fans did not like bebop. The unpredictable beats and lengthy improvisations were not like the smoother rhythms of swing music. For swing...
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