Kansas City Pays Tribute to Charlie Parker on His Birthday

Classic Arts News   Kansas City Pays Tribute to Charlie Parker on His Birthday
Over a hundred jazz fans in Kansas City paid tribute to Charlie Parker yesterday on the 85th anniversary of his birth, the Kansas City Star reports.

The fans, including over two-dozen musicians, gathered at Kansas City's Lincoln Cemetery, where Parker is buried. The musicians played "Now's the Time" and "Billie's Bounce," and there was a parade with the Kansas City Youth Jazz Band.

About 30 of Parker's relatives were in attendance.

The tradition of paying tribute to Parker on his birthday died out after bandleader Eddie Baker, who had worked closely with Parker, died in 2001. The city's Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation disappeared as well.

As a result, many of the Parker's relatives feel that the saxophonist has been underappreciated in the city of his birth. Since this year marks the 50th anniversary of his death, his first cousin Myra Brown contacted as many relatives as she could, and organized an event with local jazz musicians, resulting in the largest celebration any of them could remember.

Elvis "Sonny" Gibson, a collector of Parker memorabilia who helped promote the event, said, "This is overdue. Charlie Parker should always receive this kind of recognition."

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