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)


Anonymous said...

Dirty Force: What we lack in talent, we make for in spirit.

Dirty Force: putting the azz back in jazz!

Seriously, we've been asked to play at the Parker event for the last 4 years, and we're always happy to oblige. We turn out to remember (and attempt to channel) the energy and spirit of Kansas City from glory days long gone, not to indulge the vanity and finely-cultivated "tastes" of "jazz lovers" today.

Most of the folks there "get it". However, some don't. Too bad.

Happy In Bag said...

Where do I sign up, Bobby? I told my companions that day that I wanted to join. Thanks for checking in.