Charlie Parker's 100th birthday
Central figure of Bebop
A hundred years ago, Charlie Parker made his first cry in Kansas City, the capital of jazz. Very early influenced by Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, he joined his school orchestra at the age of 14, where he played tuba, clarinet and then alto saxophone. By the age of 17, he was already participating in several jazz ensembles and rubbing shoulders with his idols Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins in clubs in his hometown.
It was around 1940 that a musical revolution emerged in Charlie Parker's playing. He then developed a new style of jazz through jam sessions with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Christian and Kenny Clarke: Bebop. Bebop is built in opposition to the rigid and formatted structure of swing. Based on a more technical and complex music, this revolutionary current also leaves more room for improvisation and experimentation, marking a true turning point in the history of jazz.
Charlie Parker then became one of the most influential jazzmen of his generation. He spread Bebop to the four corners of the world, playing for Jazz at the Philharmonic, then at Carnegie Hall in New York or in the clubs of Saint-Germain in Paris... Despite a dazzling career (he died in 1955, plagued by personal dramas and addictions), Charlie Parker managed to establish himself as the greatest soloist and improviser in the history of jazz. Miles Davis said: “The history of jazz can be told in four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker.”
“Bird”, visionary saxophonist
Nicknamed "Yardbird" (the blue one) at the beginning of his career, his nickname was later shortened to "Bird", perhaps because of his aerial play. Capable of grandiose flights as well as deep descents into the underworld, a virtuoso musician, visionary, marginal and hopelessly free, Bird is one of the most dazzling geniuses in the history of jazz.
“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your own wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your instrument.” Charlie Parker
From 2005 to 2011, Henri SELMER Paris has released five "Collector" versions of a saxophone in homage to Charlie Parker, alias "Bird". The best Selmer craftsmen have created an original engraving around the poetic theme of the bird, which is available on five continents: the 'Hummingbird' model, a reference viola decorated with hummingbirds from the Americas, the 'Kookaburra', emblematic of Australia, the 'Flamingo' (pink flamingo) representing Africa, the 'Firebird' celebrating the European continent, and the 'Dragon Bird' symbolizing the Asian continent.
A series of tribute concerts
The Sunset-Sunside, the famous Parisian club on the rue des Lombards, is organising a series of concerts to celebrate Charlie Parker's centenary. Several great saxophonists will take turns paying tribute to the man who revolutionised the history of jazz: Pierrick Pedron, Géraldine Laurent, Dmitry Baevsky, Zoot Collectif, Fabien Mary... The last concert will be punctuated by the interventions of the music journalist Lionel Eskenazi who will retrace the extraordinary life of the artist.
Rendez-vous from August 24th to September 6th at 60 rue des lombards, 75001 Paris.
On the concerts of August 29th, we propose you promotional codes which will allow you to benefit from a discount of 5€ per person :
- Géraldine Laurent x Pierrick Pedron (6:40 pm) : SELMER5
- Pierrick Pedron Quartet (9 pm) : 5SELMER