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John H. Armwood Jazz History Lecture Nashville's Cheekwood Arts Center 1989

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Jazz88 FM - The World's Premier Jazz Radio Station, NYC and NJ

Jazz88 FM - The World's Premier Jazz Radio Station, NYC and NJ"Bird" in Charlie Parker Festival, Aug. 27th & 28th

Jimmy Heath at the Charlie Parker Jazz FestivalYou wouldn't expect that someone as influential as Charlie Parker started his career dodging flying cymbals. But that's what happened when he brought his new style to a KC jam session hosted by drummer Jo Jones in 1936. The young saxophonist hit the bandstand with an urgency one gets when finally getting at-bat in the neighborhood baseball game. What came out of Parker was definitely left-field - impossibly quick horn runs weaved together into one peaked and valleyed solo. Jo Jones wasn't digging it. Many people weren't digging it. To make his discontent known, Jones took off one of his drum cymbals and hurled it at Parker's feet, loudly shutting him up. The young saxophonist left the club that night with a resolve to master his homepsun style. He went into the shed as Charlie Parker, and emerged as "Bird".

Kenny Garrett at the Charlie Parker Jazz FestivalNo one person has single-handedly forced an innovation in jazz like Charlie Parker. His mastery of the saxophone and musical vision planted the seeds for an entire style of jazz we now know as Bebop. And on the weekend of August 27th and 28th, musicians from modern day beboppers to hip-hoppers will take the stage in Harlem and the East Village at the 13th Annual Charlie Parker Festival to honor the man affectionately known as “Bird”.

Saturday’s program will commence in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, and will feature the sounds of Bobby Watson and Horizon, Odean Pope Saxophone Choir, Hiromi and Soweto Kinch with special guest Abram Wilson. It promises to be a day filled with the wide musical spectrum that Bird was influential in - straight ahead sounds from Bobby Watson (a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the late ‘70s and early 80's), an explosive combination of nine saxophones with rhythm section in the Odean Pope Saxophone Choir, piano prodigy Hiromi and the unique jazz-meets-hip-hop cross section that is Soweto Kinch. Sunday kicks-off in Tompkins Square Park with jazz pianist Geri Allen, followed again by Odean Pope Saxophone Choir. Later in the day Sunday, The John Hicks Trio will bring their hard-bop, swing and free jazz style to the Festival with guest David “Fathead” Newman and the Cindy Blackman Quartet will close out the day with her fierce drumming and aural sensibility. Both days are free and open to public. Complete festival information is available at

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