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Spotlight: Charlie Parker 2021

During the month of August 2021, the Kansas City metropolitan area will celebrate the 101st birthday of music icon and jazz innovator, Charlie “Bird” Parker; one of its most influential legends. Through a series of various Performance and Educational events known as Spotlight: Charlie Parker, our city will honor Mr. Parker’s enduring legacy and continued impact on jazz and contemporary music around the world.

The live jazz performance Venue Showcase events platform, features connecting the community, with hearing jazz musicians at some of Kansas City’s best music venues.

The schedule is regularly being updated. As events are finalized the latest additions can be found online at: (

This year’s Bird Boot Camp + Musical Salute is the celebration’s annual educational track. It is free and will be held on Saturday, August 21st, and has rotated locations to another iconic Kansas City Area jazz venue this year - The Folly Theater. Participants in the 2021 Bird Boot Camp + Musical Salute will interact in performance on stage with notable jazz artists Ronald McFadden (McFadden Brothers), Will Matthews (Count Basie Orchestra, Grammy Winner), Gerald Spaits (Jay McShann), Doug Auwarter (Sons of Brasil), and Dr. Justin Binek (Midnight Blue Jazz Quartet). They will also benefit from three teaching workshops encompassing the study and performance of “Bird’s” music taught by esteemed jazz educators Prof. Clarence Smith (MCC Penn Valley Music, Kansas City Jazz Academy), Dr. Todd Wilkinson (Ottawa University Music), and Dr. Mike Parkinson (MidAmerica Nazarene University Jazz). Bird Boot Camp + Musical Salute is an applied one-day jazz education experience that immerses participants into the theory and practice of jazz music on several levels: Performance, Compositional Theory and Improvisation. (

Another highlight in 2021 will be the formal launch of “Charlie Parker’s Kansas City,” an interactive virtual experience. The result of an official partnership between Kansas City Jazz ALIVE and Kansas City Public Library, it features newly released images and soundtracks made available by several participating groups including: UMKC Marr Sound Archives, American Jazz Museum, Black Archives and more.

August 29th is “Bird’s” 101st birthday and will feature several other very special events – details coming soon! For the full calendar and additional details, visit

About Kansas City Jazz ALIVE (KCJA): KCJA is a volunteer-run organization. Its mission is to build awareness, serve as a listening body, provide a platform for integrating ideas, function as a voice, provide exposure to resources, and unite the Kansas City jazz community. As a jazz catalyst organization, KCJA supports artists, enthusiasts, and venue owners as they work to “raise the tide that lifts all jazz boats.”

2021 collaborations and partnerships include: The American Jazz Museum, The Folly Theater, Frontier Community Credit Union Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, 424 Lounge, Gem Theater, Johnson County Community College, KC Bier Co, Kansas City PBS, KKFI, KCUR, University of Missouri-Kansas City, City of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Museum, UNESCO, Center for Neighborhoods, Missouri Arts Council, Buttonwood Financial Group, Midnight Blue Jazz, Burnett Music Foundation, Soli Printing, Meyer Music, Jamey Abersold, Buttonwood Foundation, Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors, Live Jazz KC, Jazz Near You, Jampol and more!

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