Bird Lives: Check out our Charlie Parker playlist on Apple Music


Listen to our Charlie Parker playlist on Apple Music!

News | Jun, 7th 2018

Have you heard Bird? If not, now's the time: over at Apple Music, we're celebrating Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame member Charlie Parker with a new playlist featuring some of his best recordings.

Unmatched in technical ability and lyrical inventiveness, Parker (who also went by "Yardbird" or simply “Bird”) has inspired young novices and seasoned jazz aficionados alike since his stunning emergence in the late 1930s, when he helped lay the groundwork for bebop. Arriving on the scene as a young player in Kansas City, Missouri, Parker debuted his unique tone, remarkably sophisticated sense of rhythm, and infectious energy, garnering the attention of Jay McShann, with whom he made his first recording in a big band context.

Despite developing a lifelong morphine addiction when he was a mere teenager, his diligence earned him a spot at the forefront of the jazz community. After moving to New York and serving brief stints in the bands of Noble Sissle, Earl Hines, and Billy Eckstine, he began an enduring musical partnership with renowned jazz trumpet icon Dizzy Gillespie, with whom he had shared the bandstand multiple times. The two musicians made the bebop sound accessible to a wider musical audience with their recordings in the mid-1940s.

Parker's virtuosic style and advanced harmonic interpretations of classic standards have since become touchstones of jazz. He composed complex, soaring melodies over chord progressions from the Great American Songbook (referred to as "contrafacts") that soon became staples of the common jazz repertoire. Such compositions, which include "Ornithology" (based off "How High the Moon"), "Ko-Ko" ("Cherokee"), and "Donna Lee" ("(Back Home Again in) Indiana"), are included in this playlist. “Bloomdido” and “Mohawk” offer a noteworthy view into the combined genius of Parker and Gillespie off the 1952 record “Bird and Diz.” At the opposite end of the spectrum, “Embraceable You” showcases Parker’s masterfully sensitive approach to ballads, while “Cheryl” and “Star Eyes” illustrate his undeniable sense of swing. 

Delve into the playlist here:



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Apple Music subscribers rejoice: we have plenty of exclusive content for you! Head over to Apple Music now to hear our new, curated playlists, and follow us to ensure you get new music on the fly.


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