The Charlie Parker Story is a jazz album by Charlie "Bird" Parker, who was taken in 1945 and published in the 1950s by Savoy Records.
On November 26, 1945 Parker led a record date for the Savoy label, marketed as the "greatest Jazz session ever". The Savoy sessions produced an astounding collection of recordings. The tracks recorded during this session include "Koko" (based on the chords of "Cherokee"), "Now's the Time" (a twelve bar blues incorporating a riff later used in the late 1949 R&B dance hit "The Hucklebuck"), "Billie's Bounce", and "Thriving on a Riff." The 12-bar blues has a distinctive form in both lyrics and chord structure. ...
Shortly afterwards, the Parker/Gillespe band traveled to an unsuccessful engagement at Billy Berg's club in Los Angeles. Most of the band returned to New York, but Parker remained in California.
In 1942, burgeoning jazz musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk saw Parker perform with McShann's band in Harlem, and were impressed by his unique playing style. Later that year, Parker signed up for an eight-month gig with Earl Hines. In 1944, Parker joined the Billy Eckstine band.
The year 1945 proved a landmark one for Parker. At this stage in his career, he is believed to have come into his maturity as a musician. For the first time, he became the leader of his own group, while also performing with Dizzy Gillespie on the side. At the end of that year, the two musicians launched a six-week nightclub tour of Hollywood. Together they managed to invent an entirely new style of jazz, commonly known as bop, or bebop. After the joint tour, Parker stayed on in Los Angeles performing until the summer of 1946.
After a period of hospitalization, he returned to New York in January of 1947 and formed a quintet there. With his quintet, Parker performed some of his best-known and best-loved songs. During this time, he managed to showcase his talents, not only by playing bebop, but also by composing his own songs, including ballads like "Embraceable You," which falls under the broader jazz genre.
Parker's style of composition involved interpolation of original melodies over pre-existing jazz forms and standards, a practice still common in jazz today. Examples include "Ornithology", also known as "How High The Moon" and "Yardbird Suite", the vocal version of which is called "What Price Love", with lyrics by Parker. The practice was not uncommon prior to bebop, however it became a signature of the movement as artists began to move away from arranging popular standards and toward composing their own material.
While tunes such as "Now's The Time," "Billie's Bounce," "Au Privave", "Barbados", "Relaxin' at Camarillo," "Bloomdido," and "Cool Blues" were based on conventional twelve-bar blues changes, Parker also created a unique version of the 12-bar blues for tunes such as "Blues for Alice", "Laird Baird", and "Si Si". These unique chords are known popularly as "Bird Changes". Like his solos, some of his compositions are characterized by long, complex melodic lines and a minimum of repetition although he did employ the use of repetition in some tunes, most notably "Now's The Time".
Parker contributed greatly to the modern jazz solo, one in which triplets and pick-up notes were used in unorthodox ways to lead into chord tones, affording the soloist with more freedom to use passing tones, which soloists previously avoided. Parker was admired for his unique style of phrasing and innovative use of rhythm. Via his recordings and the popularity of the posthumously published Charlie Parker Omnibook, Parker's uniquely identifiable style dominated jazz for many years to come.
Other well-known Parker compositions include "Ah-Leu-Cha", "Anthropology", co-written with Dizzy Gillespie, "Billie's Bounce", "Bird Gets the Worm", "Cheryl", "Confirmation", "Constellation", "Donna Lee", "Ko-Ko", "Moose the Mooche", and "Scrapple from the Apple".
Miles Davis once said, "You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker."