The annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, featuring jazz performances and films about jazz, goes virtual this year, celebrating the 100th birthday of the iconic artist, and what has been a ten-day event is now one weekend only, Aug. 28 and 29.
Also different from past years, when all events have been FREE, is this year half the events are ticketed, costing $10 or $25. But that is for per screen access, so more than one person can watch.
Events are in cooperation with the 92Y, and a new name –
Charlie Parker: Now’s the Time – Celebrating Bird at 100
The wekeend includes includes a FREE screening of Clint Eastwood’s award-winning biopic Bird, a conversation-with-music led by eminent journalist, jazz critic and Celebrating Bird author Gary Giddins featuring saxophone greats Joe Lovano, Charles McPherson, Grace Kelly and Antonio Hart, a listening party of essential Charlie Parker recordings, the premiere of a specially commissioned dance film directed and choreographed by former Alvin Ailey dancer Hope Boykin, an interdisciplinary visual arts event and more.
In the world of modern music, few figures loom as large or cast as long a shadow as saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker, celebrated as a bebop pioneer, for bringing jazz into the modern era, and for his continued influence on generations of musicians.
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Let’s start with the FREE events
BIRD, CLINT EASTWOOD’S AWARD-WINNING FILM
Forest Whitaker stars as brilliant jazz saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker in Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood’s homage to Bird’s life and genius. Charlie Parker pushes the boundaries of jazz, always ahead of the musical sensibilities of his time—and never willing to compromise his artistry. Wrestling with his twin demons, alcohol and drug abuse, he struggles to gain acceptance for his music.
But neither his talent nor the love of his devoted wife, Chan, is enough to save Bird from a tragically untimely death at the age of 34.
- Fri, Aug 28, 7 pm ET, Free with registration
- Exclusive screening courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
CHARLIE PARKER ONLINE LISTENING PARTY
Celebrate Charlie Parker the greatest way possible—with a listening party featuring his most essential recordings, curated and hosted by a leading jazz radio host, who will drop the proverbial needle on seminal Bird tracks like “Now’s the Time,” “Ko-Ko,” “Ornithology,” “Lester Leaps In,” “Star Eyes,” “Embraceable You” and more, all with insights into Parker’s artistry and collaborators, and commentary on what makes these recordings touchstones of jazz.
- Sat, Aug 29, 12 pm ET, FREE with registration
Now, the ticketed events:
CHARLIE PARKER’S MUSIC AS VISUAL ART CATALYST
A Hands-On Virtual Workshop Exploring Art, Music, and Improvisation
Charlie Parker’s music is the catalyst for artistic exploration in a visual art class with artist and curator Melissa Staiger, using Parker’s genius improvisations, melodies and rhythms to explore drawing and color improvisation.
- Sat, Aug 29, 11 am ET, $25*
CELEBRATING BIRD—A CONVERSATION WITH MUSIC
Featuring Jazz Sax Masters Joe Lovano, Charles McPherson, Grace Kelly and Antonio Hart, Hosted by Gary Giddins
Award-winning journalist, jazz critic and Celebrating Bird author Gary Giddins leads a a conversation with a quartet of sax masters hugely influenced by Parker. Giddins talks with Grammy Award-winning tenor sax legend Joe Lovano, who has said, “[Bird’s] fresh and beautiful approach to the art of improvising fuels everything I do in music” … and three outstanding alto players: Charles McPherson, who played Charlie Parker’s solos in Clint Eastwood’s film Bird, the electrifying young Downbeat Critics Poll winner Grace Kelly, and Antonio Hart, about whom The New York Times wrote, “The styles of the masters of his instrument—Parker, Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges—flash through his playing like deft literary allusions.”
They discuss Parker’s groundbreaking artistry and legacy, bringing personal reflections and distinct perspectives on the bebop giant, all supported by iconic recordings and historic footage.
Each artist then performs one of Parker’s landmark compositions.
- Saturday, August 29, 2 ET, $10
…a movement. Journey.
A dance film inspired by the music of Charlie Parker, created by Hope Boykin
This is the the world premiere of the dance film, featuring a series of short dances choreographed by Hope Boykin (formerly of the Ailey Company, Philadanco and more), who “radiates power in her fearless, generous dancing” (The New York Times). The premiere will be followed by a live Q & A session with the director/choreographer.
Audiences will see short vignettes choreographed and created for dancers who have been isolated during the world’s intermission, struggling to find a way out, and searching for their stage. Standing alone or woven together, the works created will show the struggle and celebrate the survival of life. Charlie Parker left us a soundtrack of the world in which he lived, and I will use the story the music tells, through his body of work, to create and celebrate all he left us. I wonder if he knew what his genius could provide to the future he wouldn’t get to see.” — Hope Boykin
- Sat, Aug 29, 7 pm ET, $10
To access all events and purchase tickets, visit 92Y.org/charlieparker.