Investigations

Charlie Parker's Saxophone

The Case:

A woman owns a beautiful old alto saxophone that belonged to her father and according to family legend was once owned by the legendary jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Her late father, a white musician, told her that when they lived in Portland, Oregon, Charlie Parker came to a practice session without his horn.

The story goes that when her father chided Parker for selling his instrument, Bird said, "If you want the horn so much, here's the pawn ticket."

But is the story true? Did these two musicians ever meet? Would Charlie Parker abandon his horn?

History Detectives investigates an original American art form and the life of a troubled musical genius

Discuss this story

Aired:
Season 2, Episode 11

Detective:
Wes Cowan Detective:
Gwen Wright Location:
Oakland, California

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