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  • Writer's pictureJAM

KCPT’s Charlie Parker Documentary Now Streaming Online

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

If you missed the broadcast on Channel 19 during the Parker Centennial Celebration, Bird: Not Out of Nowhere, KCPT’s documentary celebrating the legacy of Charlie Parker is now streaming at

Featuring Bobby Watson, Logan Richardson, Lonnie McFadden and some of Kansas City’s top musicians, the biography was directed and produced by Emmy Award-winner Brad Austin and features rarely-seen archival footage of Parker, interviews with musicians and historians and live performances by alto saxophonists Bobby Watson and Logan Richardson.

“We could not be more excited to present the story of Charlie Parker,” said Kliff Kuehl, President & CEO of Kansas City PBS. “The mark he left on Kansas City - and on the jazz industry as a whole - can’t be understated.”

Parker authority and KCUR Fish Fry host Chuck Haddix collaborated on the piece with the Channel 19 team. His 2015 biography Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker provided source material for the film and remains one of the definitive volumes on the Kansas City native’s turbulent life and times.

Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920, Parker grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, moving to the Westport area during the height of Prohibition. He picked up the alto saxophone at the age of 11, laying the foundation of his musical career.

It was in the Kansas City music scene where he cut his chops. With the city’s top-notch swing orchestras and on late-night performances, becoming a renowned soloist and improviser.

He became a leading figure in the development of bebop in New York City alongside trumpet great Dizzy Gillespie. As his mastery of and influence on jazz grew, Parker’s fast-paced lifestyle would ultimately cement his legacy and his demise.

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