Charlie Parker (1920–1955)


29th August 1920 in Kansas City, Kansas, USA.

Charlier Parker’s grave in Kansas City


12th March 1955 in New York, New York, USA.


Lincoln Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Some great pieces.
  • Confirmation. (See below for a video.)
  • Ornithology. (See below for a video.)
  • Anthropology. (See the Bud Powell page for a video.)
  • Yardbird Suite.
  • Bird of Paradise.
  • Billie’s Bounce.
  • Plus many more!
Some great albums:
  • The Charlie Parker Story (1945).
  • Charlie Parker on Dial: The Complete Sessions (1946–1947).
  • Charlie Parker with Strings (1950).
  • Now’s the Time (1952–1953).
  • Jazz at Massey Hall (1953).
  • Plus many more!
Some interesting facts:
  • Many people think he was one of the greatest jazz artists who ever lived!
  • He was certainly one of the greatest jazz artists of the ‘bebop’ era (1940s until the late 1950s). In fact, he was one of the main people to create ‘bebop’. He did this while working with Dizzy Gillespie [Bebop is a style of jazz that is often very fast and has very talented playing.]
  • He played the saxophone and was one of the greatest saxophonists in the history of jazz!
  • He has had a very big influence on jazz since his life.
  • Many people think that his concert recorded in ‘Jazz at Massey Hall’ was the greatest jazz concert ever! (Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell performed with him at this concert too.)
  • He had the nickname “Yardbird”, or just “Bird”.
  • Miles Davis worked with him for a while as a young man. Miles Davis learnt a lot about jazz while playing with Charlie Parker.
  • He didn’t think much of school and left early! He was only interested in music.
  • He was often in debt. To pay back his debts he sometimes sold his saxophone. He would then turn up to a concert or recording session without any instrument!
  • Unfortunately his private life was a complete mess. He drank too much and took a lot of drugs. Even more unfortunately, this set a bad example that many later jazz artists copied :-(.
  • He died while watching TV in the hotel room of the rich woman, Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter. (Years later she looked after Thelonious Monk at the end of his life too!)
Official Website

Here is a video of Charlie Parker playing Confirmation. Charlie Parker is the person playing the saxophone.

Charlie Parker playing ‘Confirmation’

And here is a video a modern jazz group playing Charlie Parker’s Ornothology.

A modern jazz group playing ‘Ornothology’ by Charlie Parker

You can see another video of music written by Charlie Parker on the following page:

Picture credits:
  1. Charlie Parker. This photograph was taken by James J. Kriegsmann. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information. The image is used here in the same fair manner as the source.
  2. Charlier Parker’s grave in Kansas City. This photograph was taken by Tammy Morales. I have obtained permission from her to use the image here. Click here for the source of this image.
Video credits:
  1. Charlie Parker – “Confirmation”. Charlie Parker (alt. sax), Al Haig (piano), Percy Heath(bass), Max Roach (drums). 1953.
  2. Ornithology – Slidin’ Selena plays Charlie Parker. Ornithology, composed by Charlie Parker as played by Slidin’ Selena’s swing quintette. June 18. 2004.