I have worn down the cassette of Charlie parker after endless hours of my walkman. I could now make a joke about walkmans and how old I am, but you know what, if you don’t know what a walkman is just bang your head on the table a couple of times for being so young. the one big advantage to cassettes, is the same duality records used to have.
The side b. and on that particular cassette of a Charlie parker compilation, side b started with "parker mood". I can still remember the anticipation as you change sides, press the mechanical button and wait for it to begin.
I realized by using the high notes of the chords as a melodic line, and by the right harmonic progression, I could play what I heard inside me. That's when I was born. "
I didn’t understand what he was doing or even why I liked it, but it was magic. Now that I know the technical secrets to his sound, at least in theory, and understand his origins, his ideas and his life story that created who Charlie parker was, it is still magic. And that is quite rare as with knowledge usually comes disillusion or at least a diminished sense of amazement. In this case it is the opposite.
During 1945, we used to go down almost every night to catch Diz and Bird wherever they were playing. We felt that if we missed hearing them play, we were missing something important.
Man, the shit they were playing and doing was going down so fast, you just had to be there in person to catch it." = Miles Davis
Charlie parker was a symbol of what a jazz musician should be. Disciplined, educated, innovative, intellectual. Jazz was always the brainiacs game, but it was Charlie parker and his generation that brought it from entertainment and dancing music to a true form of expression and self exploration.
Parker was the master of this expression, with not only the greatest musical vocabulary around, thanks to his endless practice regime and scale manipulation exercises, but also the most complex sentences and phrasing.
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"
Of course there are the parts of Charlie parker's life that were like a blueprint for Charlie sheen's, like running naked through your hotel lobby after setting fire to your bed, arriving to recordings without an instrument as you sold it for drug money, and then when you do get to record occasionally needing a production assistant to hold you up and face you in the general direction of the microphone. But that is a small price to pay for being a genius.
Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."
Other than his pure bebop tunes and his experimental stuff, one of the most interesting phases in parker's career is his venture into the classical world, taking the collaboration of strings and jazz to a new level, a synthesis of the two and not just jazz being played on classical instruments. Jazz saxophone and strings sounds wrong. It sounds Kenny g. well, Charlie parker's arrangements are so far from cheesy they are almost….what's the opposite of cheesy?
They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line"
If you are a musician? You were influenced by Charlie parker. Or by a musician that was influence by Charlie parker. If you are not a musician, once you listen enough to Charlie parker you want to be. And me? Well, I am going to click the link to "parkers mood" and pretend there is the sound of a cassette clicking and starting to play on my walkman.