Charlie Parker quotes

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Charlie Parker

Birthdate: 29. August 1920
Date of death: 12. March 1955

Charles Parker Jr. , also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker was a highly influential jazz soloist and the leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, and he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. His tone ranged from clean and penetrating to sweet, and somber.

Parker acquired the nickname "Yardbird" early in his career on the road with Jay McShann. This, and the shortened form "Bird", continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology", "Bird Gets the Worm", and "Bird of Paradise". Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual rather than just an entertainer. Wikipedia

„Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you.“

—  Charlie Parker

As quoted in Words of Wisdom (1990) edited by William Safire and Leonard Safir, p. 435

„You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.“

—  Charlie Parker

As quoted in Acting Is a Job: Real-life Lessons About the Acting Business (2006) by Jason Pugatch, p. 73; this statement has occurred with many different phrasings, including: "Learn the changes, then forget them."

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