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Charlie Parker Tribute

Charlie Parker
UMKC Marr Sound Archives/Miller Nichols Library
Charlie Parker

Charlie "Bird" Parker was born on August 29, 1920. Considered a founding figure of bebop, the jazz saxophonist and composer was born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.

By Laura Spencer

Kansas City, MO – Note: Excerpts for this piece were drawn from a tribute recorded in March at City Hall, Kansas City.

A number of Charlie Parker Tributes are planned this weekend including:

Saturday, August 26, 2006:
A jazz jam in honor of Charlie Parker runs from 6 to 8 at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center

Sunday, August 27:
There's a musical tribute at Parker's grave in Lincoln Cemetery. That's followed by the Birdland Jazz Bash, sponsored by the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors and held at Californos in Westport.

The gravesite tribute takes place from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday. Finding the cemetery, on Blue Ridge Boulevard just north of Truman Road, might not be easy, but event organizer Dean Hampton has thoughtfully placed a good map on his Web site, at .html. The event is free.

Then to Californos, at 4124 Pennsylvania Ave. From 1 to 11 p.m., the Jazz Ambassadors are presenting music from artists including the UMKC Conservatory Jazz Band, the Scamps, the Dan Thomas Quintet, Rich Hill, the New Vintage Big Band, Hal Melia, Joe Cartwright and Bram Wijnands' Majestic Seven. There's also an open-mic jam session. Food and drink will be offered, too.

Tickets to the 10-hour bash are $15, $10 for students. Proceeds from the Birdland Jazz Bash go to support the Jazz Ambassadors' scholarship programs, which help students in programs ranging from the Kansas City Youth Jazz Bands to UMKC.


Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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