The American jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie “Bird” Parker was born on August 29, 1920. Parker is considered one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, having revolutionized modern jazz music and influenced generations of musicians. Born in Kansas City, Parker made his way to New York City at age twenty. Along with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, Parker ushered in a new era of jazz music in the form of experimentation. Regarded as one of the founders of the bebop movement, Parker pushed the boundaries of improvisation and expression. The New York jazz scene is largely indebted to Parker’s musical contributions.
To learn more about Parker’s life and legacy, watch American Masters – Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker.
Celebrate Bird with this playlist of his essential songs: