Charlie Parker

Saxophonist / Bandleader / Jazz Musician

Born: 29 August 1920
Died: 12 March 1955
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas
Best known as: Influential alto saxophone player

Name at birth: Charles Christopher Parker, Jr.

Charlie Parker, nicknamed "Yardbird" ("Bird" for short), had an undistinguished early career, but ended up being one of the creators of bebop jazz in the 1940s. He played with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, all the while making his mark as an inventor of melodies and creative improviser. Highly influential and praised by fellow musicians, Parker had a brief career due to his troubled personal life and addictions to alcohol and heroin.

Extra credit: In 1988 jazz fan Clint Eastwood made a biographical movie about Parker, Bird, with Forest Whitaker in the title role.

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