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FLYING HIGH WITH BIRD AT 100

Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Charlie Parker, the brilliant alto saxophonist who revolutionized jazz and modern music in a lifetime that lasted only 35 years. The centennial celebration, Bird 100, includes seminars, album releases, performances and, of course, plenty of virtual events.

UMe, which owns Bird’s Verve catalog, has several releases lined up including a 100-song playlist posted today. On Saturday, the first of this year’s socially distanced Record Store Days will see the release of Jazz at Midnite on midnight blue vinyl. The Blue Note release is of performances recorded live in 1952 and 1953 at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., with Max Roach, Charlie Byrd, Zoot Sims and others.

The Magnificent Charlie Parker was released 8/7 via Verve/UMe, bringing together all of Parker’s 78 RPM singles for Clef Records, recorded in January and August 1951.

Later this year, Verve/UMe will release a vinyl box set of Parker’s complete Mercury and Clef 10-inch albums, Bird and Diz, Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker Plays South Of The Border, Charlie Parker With Strings and Charlie Parker With Strings (Vol. 2). The LPs will feature newly remastered audio from the original analog tapes and will include faithful reproductions of the classic artwork and packaging for the first time in more than six decades.

Another upcoming release is Bird In LA featuring unreleased songs recorded during Bird’s visits to Los Angeles from mid-‘40s through the early ‘50s. In conjunction with Bird In LA, Z2 Comics will release the graphic novel, Chasin’ The Bird: Charlie Parker In California. Bird In LA and Chasin’ The Bird will be the subject of a virtual panel hosted by the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles in October.

“Few artists have made such an impact on the music of an era as Charlie Parker did in shaping the sounds of the 20th century. We are honored to be entrusted with his legacy as we continue to offer fans quality reissues of his remarkable work and explore new platforms for new fans to discover and appreciate his artistry,” UMe President & CEO Bruce Resnikoff said.

Today and Saturday, New York City’s 92Y will mark the centennial with 24 hours of special events that includes a conversation-with-music led by Celebrating Bird author Gary Giddins featuring saxophonists Joe Lovano, Charles McPherson, Grace Kelly and Antonio Hart, a screening of Clint Eastwood’s Bird, a listening party of essential Parker recordings hosted by WBGO’s Brian Delp, and the premiere of a specially commissioned dance film directed and choreographed by Hope Boykin.

In Parker’s hometown of Kansas City, Spotlight 2020: Charlie Parker is taking place throughout the city this month. Tonight’s events include the Will Matthews Organ Trio at the Gem Theatre; Saturday’s slate include a daylong virtual jam session, a walking tour, documentary screening and a performance by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

Jazz @ Lincoln Center’s Bird Lives!: Charlie Parker at 100 runs through 9/4 and includes online performances of Parker material tonight from Tia Fuller and Lakecia Benjamin, Immanual Wilkins on Saturday, and Goodwin Lewis on Sunday. Ted Nash and the [email protected] Orchestra perform Charlie Parker With Strings on Monday as the celebration continues.

Also in New York, SummerStage's annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in New York has shifted to a digital series

There is also an official Charlie Parker YouTube channel featuring testimonials from the likes of Bill Clinton, Wynton Marsalis and Christian McBride.

Other physical releases include Hal Leonard’s Charlie Parker: The Complete Scores book featuring note-for-note transcriptions of 40 classic performances on 9/21 and Craft RecordingsThe Original Savoy 10-inch Collection on CD in November.

 

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