Charlie Parker

I just finished my mosaic of the jazz saxophone genius Charlie Parker. I will be showing it, as a vendor along with my other mosaics, at the Chicago Jazz Festival, this Labor Day weekend. Charlie along with Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and others created a style of music called Bebop. This style of music was created in the early 1940’s by African American musicians who wanted more freedom of expression and a more individual sound than the Big Band sound of the time could provide.

Performers of Bebop left the traditional melody and played freely, with the rhythm and improvised what they felt at the time. They blazed a path that many of my favorite saxophone players followed. John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Dexter Gordon to just name a few were Charlie Parker devotees.

Despite his short life and his drug habit, he died at age 34 of pneumonia, he was cited as one of the most innovative and influential musicians in American history. He has won several posthumous awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to American music.

I chose to use a blue saxophoneto symbolize his horn was “like a river” providing a path for others to follow.