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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 is designed to connect the community with jazz musicians at some of Kansas City’s best venues. The schedule is regularly updated as events are finalized and can be found online. (

In collaboration with Kansas City PBS, a kickoff film screening and panel discussion is scheduled to take place at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art at the Tivoli titled, “Bird 101: The Art of Charlie Parker in Kansas City”. Guests will enjoy an exclusive screening of Kansas City PBS’ “Bird: Not Out of Nowhere” featuring rarely seen archival footage of Charlie Parker, interviews with musicians and historians, and live performances from some of Kansas City’s most talented jazz musicians. Guests will stick around for a live panel discussion, led by Chuck Haddix. Panelists to include Lonnie McFadden, Bobby Watson and Brad Austin. (

“Bird Boot Camp + Musical Salute” is the celebration’s annual educational track. This free student experience will be 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. They will also benefit from three teaching workshops encompassing the study and performance of “Bird’s” music taught by esteemed jazz educators. 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. Full list of educators and musicians available online. (

Another highlight in 2021 includes a walking tour of the historic Jazz District, “Early Bird: Charlie Parker at 18th & Vine Tour.” The tour, led by Chuck Haddix and Geri Sanders, will begin at 10am on Saturday August 28th. During the days of public segregation, Kansas City’s 18th and Vine area developed into a self-contained community. The intersection of 18th and Vine served as the hub of a bustling business and entertainment district – the heart and soul of an African American community. (

Additionally, look forward to a full day of celebration with the American Jazz Museum on Bird’s 101st birthday, August 29th! Starting at 3pm, guests are invited to meet at Torn Label Brewing, which will be open for refreshments. At 4pm, a walking parade will begin! All are welcome to join for the walk to 18th Street to the American Jazz Museum, then to the McShann Pavilion for family activities, speeches and music. Food trucks will also be available. Additionally, save your seat for a great concert at the Gem Theater, “Bird @ 100”. Starting at 7pm, enjoy a very special tribute to Charlie Parker’s 101st birthday

For the full calendar, additional details and regular updates, 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, Meyer Music, Jamey Abersold, Buttonwood Foundation, Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors, Live Jazz KC, Jampol and more!

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