Charlie Parker 100 Arrives August 19-29

Kansas City celebrates the 100th birthday of Charlie “Bird” Parker this month with a ten day series of Performance and Educational. “Spotlight: Charlie Parker” (S:CP) honors Parker’s legacy and his impact on jazz around the world. Face masks and social distancing are required per local ordinance at all events.

Live jazz performance “Venue Showcase” events will take place at the Polsky Theater at Johnson County Community College, 424 Lounge, KC Bier Co, The Phoenix, The Reserve at the Ambassador Hotel and more. A full schedule can be found online at (https://spotlightcharlieparker.org/event-schedule/)

Parker 100 kicked off at the American Jazz Museum with the exhibition “Saxophone Supreme: The Life & Music of Charlie Parker”. https://americanjazzmuseum.org/exhibition/SaxophoneSupreme) Co-curated by Chuck Haddix and Geri Sanders, the exhibition features a wide variety of Parker memorabilia.

On August 22nd, Chris Burnett will lead the Bird Boot Camp (https://birdbootcamp.org/) at the American Jazz Museum and GEM Theater featuring well known area jazz educators. The boot camp is an applied jazz education experience that immerses participants into the theory and practice of jazz music including Performance, Compositional Theory and Improvisation. Following the boot camp, students will move outside in the Jazz District to perform a “sax salute” to Charlie Parker. Strict social distancing measures are being taken for students who participate, and audience members are required to wear a face mask during the “sax salute.”

August 29th is Bird’s 100th birthday and will feature several special events, starting with a UNESCO-sponsored “Sunrise Ceremony” at 6:15am featuring African drumming from the Traditional Music Society, Bird Ellington Fleming. Following the ceremony, a walking tour of 18th & Vine will begin at 9:30am. Tour guides Chuck Haddix and Jacob Wagner from UMKC will place Bird’s life and times in historical context to the 18th and Vine District, where Charlie Parker developed as a young musician. To minimize the number of people gathered together, the tour will have two sessions: from 9:30am – 10:30am and 10:30- 11:30am. Each tour is limited to 26 people.

Kansas City’s Public Broadcasting station KCPT has been busy filming “Bird: Not Out of Nowhere.” As the world celebrates the centennial of Charlie "Bird" Parker's birth, this film looks back at the twenty-one years Charlie spent at home in Kansas City and on his long-lasting impression on Kansas City Jazz. Produced by Chris Lester based on a Parker biography by Chuck Haddix, this documentary will air on KCPT August 29 at 7pm as well as August 31st at 2am for late night and international viewers. (https://proweb.myersinfosys.com/kcpt/atoz?date=)

As part of their “Museum Sessions,” the Kansas City Museum (https://kansascitymuseum.org/initiativescollaborations/themuseumsessions/) will stream a live jazz performance featuring Kansas City Jazz musicians in a special tribute to Charlie Parker.

For the full calendar and additional details, visit https://spotlightcharlieparker.org/

Spotlight: Charlie Parker is made possible by the support of The American Jazz Museum, Folly Theater, 424 Lounge,