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An annual celebration honoring the great jazz musician Charlie Parker returns to Kansas City

Wikimedia Commons
Charlie Parker performs with his band at The Three Deuces in New York City in August 1947.

Every year, the jazz community comes together to commemorate saxophonist Charlie Parker with a series of jam sessions, tributes, tours and lectures.

The legacy of the Kansas City jazz scene can be summed up in two words: Charlie Parker.

Parker, who died in 1955, redefined the very sound of jazz, and his legacy endures.

The festival Spotlight: Charlie Parker has been held annually in Kansas City, Missouri, since 2014. The late saxophonist, nicknamed "Bird," will be celebrated in the days leading up to his Aug. 29 birthday.

The week-long event will feature live jazz shows, music boot camps, tours of his haunts in the city and exhibits at the American Jazz Museum.

Highlighting this year's festival are two young musicians with Kansas City roots, Morgan Faw and Houston Smith.

Talking with Steve Kraske, Smith said that Parker is far from dead.

"We still are able to hear who Charlie Parker is. Right?" Smith said. "So even though he's physically not here. His spirit and his sound and his contribution will live on."

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