The alto saxophonist and composer Charles Christopher Parker Jr. was born on August 29, 1920 in Kansas City. His father Charles Parker Sr. worked as a sleeping car and managed with difficulty to keep the family above water. The childhood home of the boy with his mother and stepbrother Addie Ikey in poverty before the father in 1930 rose up to them. The following year Charles moved with his mother to the black section of Kansas City. The boy attended from 1932 to the Lincoln High School and began playing in the school's Big Band alto and baritone saxophone. That same year he was given his first instrument, a key event, which gave him the idea to try his luck as a musician. Parker played in the student Combo "The Deans Of Swing", left in 1935 school without qualifications and earned first bucks in dance halls such as the "The Greenleaf Garden".
Getting serious jobs took him to the dance orchestra of Tommy Douglas (1936) and the orchestral saxophonist Buster Smith (1937). The marriage with Rebecca Ruffin (1936-39) was intended as an attempt to be solid with their own family. In 1938, Francis Leon was born, but Parker cared little about him and pulled rather to Chicago. There he worked as a dishwasher times, sometimes as an opportunity musicians, slipped deep into heroin addiction, until a place in the orchestra of pianist Jay McShann again promised regular income. With this ensemble of alto saxophonist in 1940 was listening with "Radio Transcriptions" for the first time on shellac. McShann brought Parker through exposure to the "Savoy Ballroom" two years later to New York. He played then in the orchestra of Earl Hines, jamming often must the birth of bebop local "Minton's Playhouse" and dared in 1943 even a second, however, short-lived marriage with the dancer Geraldine Margueritte Scott. In 1944 he joined the newly founded Combo Billy Eckstine and was now regularly with Dizzy Gillespie, Ben Webster and Al Haig to hear.
From there, it went quickly. Parker toured with his own bands in hip bebop clubs of 52nd Street and soon got for his solo flights of acknowledging the nickname "Bird" allotted. As blue-founded self-taught, he coined to improvise their own style and to compose ( "Ornithology", "Ko Ko", "Donna Lee", "Billie's Bounce" Now's The Time ";" Yardbird Suite "), has been posted as a studio musician and in winter 1945 "Charlie Parkers Reboppers" and "Ko Ko" sessions at the side of the also very young bebop pioneers Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie known about the Hipsterkreise addition. Meanwhile, heavy drug addicts, however, he cared little about what his music happened. to date, his discography therefore one of the most chaotic of jazz. on 29 July 1946 Parker collapsed after a studio recording and was first in prison, then sent to the treatment center Camarillo in Los Angeles.
In early 1947 moved Parker with his partner and temporary wife Doris Sydnor (1948-50) to the west coast, but returned in April to New York and formed his famous quintet with trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Duke Jordan and Joe Albany, Tommy Potter on bass and Max Roach on drums. He toured in 1948 with the popular "Jazz At The Philharmonic" series by the States, played almost non-stop and was honored even by an eponymous "Birdland" club in New York in December 1949th As a leading figure of bebop he remained during the period of stagnation in the business and played for example in the ensemble of Cuban orchestra leader Machito. However, in contrast to colleagues like Miles Davis or John Coltrane later he got his drug addiction is not in the grip and was therefore during the last five years of life a plaything of addiction. In December 1950, he had to because of a stomach ulcer to hospital, from the relationship with his girlfriend Chan Richardson went in july 1951, the daughter Pree and 1952, the son of Charles Baird forth.
In 1951-52 his work permit fOr Live Local has been withdrawn. His bands fell apart, Parker impoverished and soon took on any job. He played kitsch with strings, worked in 1953 for the last time with Miles Davis, however, became increasingly erratic. In 1954 he made a suicide attempt and suffered then from schizophrenia and depression. His last appearance at Birdland he played on March 5, 1955. A few days later Charlie Parker was found dead in the New York suite of jazz patron PANNONICA DE KOENIGSWARTER on March 12, 1955th The doctor diagnosed cirrhosis, gastric perforation, myocardial infarction and pneumonia and estimated the age Charlie Parker to 55 years, although it was two decades younger. Parker died as a failed, his music, however, his energetic playing style and improvisational libertarian attitude was one of the main impulses of modern jazz. Even in the 1980s, one could at New York house walls sprayed find the slogan "Bird Lives".
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