In the 1940s, Charlie Parker, nicknamed "Bird," was a prime mover behind the new style of bebop, with its refined harmonies, offbeat rhythms and abstract melodies played at breakneck speed. On Bird Songs, Joe Lovano looks for new ways into Parker's material.
Photographer William Claxton got his start taking photos of jazz musicians in natural settings instead of smoky lounges. His 1967 film Basic Black was considered the first fashion video. He died Oct. 11 from congestive heart failure.
Jackie McLean, the legendary jazz saxophonist who died last week at age 74, began playing at the age of 15 in his native New York City. Schooled in bebop at the start of his career, the alto sax player names Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Charlie Parker as influences. We offer a rebroadcast of a conversation with McLean.
Jazz musicians Red Rodney and Sonny Sharrock. They're both important jazz figures who recently died. We will rebroadcast previous interviews with both Rodney was a trumpeter and band leader. He rose through the big band ranks and played in Charlie Parker's quintet. He was known as one of jazz's best improvisers. And he was known for regaling journalists with his stories-- often of dubious veracity. (Rebroadcast of 6/15/1990)
Drummer Charlie Watts. For a quarter century, Watts has been the drummer for the rock band The Rolling Stones. Watts has also had a life-long love for jazz, particularly the jazz of Charlie Parker. Watts has put together a jazz combo that pays homage to Parker, called "From One Charlie," and he's written a kid's book about Parker, called "Ode to a Highflying Bird." (Both are published by UFO Records in England). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Charlie Watts, the drummer with the Rolling Stones, has always loved the great alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. Watts just recorded a box set that pays tribute to Parker. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead is unimpressed.
Clint Eastwood's biopic Bird delves deep into the personal life and legend of Charlie Parker. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says the story fails to connect these often tumultuous moments with the genius of Parker's music.
Film critic Stephen Schiff reviews the new film based on the life of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker. Schiff says it makes up for its lack of narrative drive with insight and an excellent soundtrack.
Gary Giddins, jazz critic for The Village Voice and author of the books Celebrating Bird: the Triumph of Charlie Parker, and Rhythm-a-ning: Jazz Tradition and Innovation in the 80s. He is the founder of the American Jazz Orchestra, which performs important and neglected jazz works of the past.
Photographer William Claxton. His new book, Jazz, is a collection of jazz photographs taken in the 50s and 60s and includes photographs of jazz greats like Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Max Roach.
Author Jack Chambers has a new biography about the life of jazz legend Miles Davis. Chambers pays special attention to the trumpeter's early years playing, recording, and living with saxophonist Charlie Parker.
Sheila Jordan is a jazz singer. Rather than make music she doesn't agree with, Jordan has kept her "day job" as a typist for her entire career. That might be changing as more people become aware of her work. She joins the show to discuss her life and career.
Red Rodney honed his skills as a trumpet player in Philadelphia. Later, he joined Charlie Parker's band. He tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross about kicking his heroin habit and the kinds of jobs he takes to make a career in music.