© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kansas City's annual tribute to jazz icon Charlie Parker is marking its 10th anniversary

Charles Parker Jr., nicknamed "Bird" or "Yardbird", was an American jazz saxophonist, band leader and composer.
Courtesy of Gregory Carrol
Charles Parker Jr., nicknamed "Bird" or "Yardbird", was an American jazz saxophonist, band leader and composer.

Spotlight: Charlie Parker 2023 welcomes jazz fans from all over the world to celebrate the iconic saxophonist with a series of concerts, educational opportunities and jam sessions.

Kansas City saxophonist Charlie Parker may have lived just 34 years, but his impact on American music and jazz has only grown over the last century.

"I used to tell my students all the time, if you want to become sophisticated in this music, you have to enter through one gateway, and that gateway into being sophisticated in jazz is to learn Bird and to learn bebop ," says Greg Carrol, board president of Spotlight: Charlie Parker and president of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City,

The weekend's festivities — the 10th anniversary of the Spotlight: Charlie Parker series — will feature jam sessions, musical tributes, history tours and insightful panel discussions. Another highlight of the event is a performance from Grammy-nominated artist Tia Fuller, who will serve as the organization's 2023 artist-in-residence.

Kansas City-based vocalist, Deborah Brown participate in a panel discussion on, "Women in Jazz, Charlie Parker's Influence." Brown says she was introduced to Parker's music at a young age.

"My mom was the dean of music at the Charlie Parker Academy, along with Eddie Baker," Brown said. "But before then, my father loved listening to bebop music, so Charlie Parker was in my ear then and still is."

2023 Spotlight: Charlie Parker will take place on August 19-26, 2023. The list of events, time and locations can be found here.

Stay Connected
As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As an assistant producer on Up To Date, my goal is to amplify voices of people who serve as pioneers in their respective fields while shedding light on issues that affect underserved communities. I produce daily conversations to uplift and inspire the people of the Kansas City area to make the world a better place. You can reach me at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.