saxophonist and composer.
Parker, with Louis Armstrong
and Duke Ellington
, is widely considered to have been one of the most influential jazz
musicians. Parker acquired the nickname "Yardbird" early in his career and the shortened form "Bird" remained Parker's sobriquet
for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird Suite
" and "Bird of Paradise."
Parker played a leading role in the development of bebop
, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuoso technique, and improvisation based on harmonic
I realized by using the high notes of the chords as a melodic line, and by the right harmonic progression, I could play what I heard inside me. That's when I was born.
I'd been getting bored with the stereotyped changes [harmonies] that were being used all the time. ... I found that by using the higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes I could play the thing I'd been hearing. I came alive.
Hey man, it's just music. It's playing clean and hitting the pretty notes.
Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.
Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
Any musician who says he is playing better either on tea, the needle, or when he is juiced, is a plain straight liar ... You can miss the most important years of your life, the years of possible creation.
Bird's mind and fingers work with incredible speed. He can imply four chord changes in a melodic pattern where another musician would have trouble inserting two.
During 1945, we used to go down almost every night to catch Diz and Bird wherever they were playing. We felt that if we missed hearing them play, we were missing something important. Man, the shit they were playing and doing was going down so fast, you just had to be there in person to catch it.