Sunday, August 26, 2007
Charlie Parker's Grave Situation
Fans, journalists and family members gathered around Charlie Parker's grave in Lincoln Cemetery Sunday afternoon for a memorial service. Parker would have been 87 years old on Wednesday.
The highlight of the ceremony was a spirited round of "Now's the Time." Amateur enthusiasts joined some of Kansas City's most notable musicians. It was nice.
The 150 people at the service are more than I've seen at the last six or seven jazz shows I've attended. Combined. Parker merits remembering, of course. But living jazz musicians have a hard time drawing enough fans to carry a casket. Perhaps that's one reason Parker left Kansas City in the first place.
While I was pleased by the presence of New Orleans-style brass band Dirty Force, a few people were put off by their sloppy and irreverent performance after the formal service ended. "Are they supposed to sound this bad?" a crank complained.
For his part, Parker probably would have asked everyone to play a little longer and quite a bit louder.
(All images by Plastic Sax, 8/26/07)