“You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker” – the words of jazz great Miles Davis paying homage to the forefathers of a musical movement now celebrated around the world.
Sixty years after his passing, Charlie “Bird” Parker is celebrated for his contribution to modern music through rhythmically and melodically complex solos, and his creation of the bebop sound. Parker, credited for changing the course of jazz history, pushed the envelope of improvisation and inspired a generation of jazz performers and composers.
The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival presented by SummerStage and City Parks Foundation, now in its 22nd year, is celebrated in two Manhattan parks. Tompkins Square park, across from his former residence, and Marcus Garvey park just blocks from famous Harlem jazz clubs where Parker played, such as the newly revived Minton’s.
This Saturday, August 23rd, from 3:00 – 7:00 pm at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem
The Wallace Roney Orchestra – trumpeter Wallace Roney, a renowned
jazz musician since the age of 16, is one of the few of his generation who studied and perfected his craft directly from alliances with Jazz Masters. Being mentored by the late Miles Davis and receiving original compositions written by Wayne Shorter for Miles Davis, Roney has earned the admiration and respect from his colleagues since the age of 16. Lionel Loueke – guitarist and vocalist noted for bringing jazz into vibrant
contact with the sounds of West Africa. With the aptly titled album “Heritage” he celebrates just that, and the influence of culture on his development as an artist and on a personal level. Melissa Aldana – saxophonist, composer, and winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition last September, first picked up her instrument at the age of six. She will be joined on stage with her “Crash
Trio” featuring bassist Pablo Menares, and drummer Francisco Mela. Kris Bowers – pianist, as the story goes was influenced by jazz before birth and has been recognized as one of the newest and brightest lights on the jazz scape. Schooled in jazz and classical, and influenced by the rap and hip-hop of the 1990’s, Bowers showcases a musical style that is clearly rooted in jazz tradition also reflecting his openness to influences of this current eclectic musical age. Special guest Chris Turner – a classically trained vocalist who has been performing since the age of four is a soul singer for the ages and a writer for our times. Currently released is his digital mix tape “LOVElife Is a Challenge” as well as being featured on new recordings with Kris Bowers, Eric Harland, and Harvey Manson Sr.
This Sunday, August 24th, from 3:00 – 7:00 pm at Tompkins Square Park in the East Village
Kenny Barron – one of the most renowned , most lyrical and busiest pianists in jazz today, Barron has spent five decades at the forefront of the jazz piano aristocracy. Inducted into the prestigious Jazz Master’s class of 2010, a multiple-Grammy nominee and award winning composer, arranger and bandleader, he has recorded over forty albums. Cindy Blackman Santana – jazz and rock drummer, bandleader and musician, known for her soulful powerful playing. Her beginnings as a New York City street performer led to global tours and record recording, most recently sitting in with Santana. Craig Handy – after experimenting with guitar, trombone, and piano, his first true love, the saxophone, won him over. As a band leader for his new touring and recording project “Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith” he showcases originals,and standards. Brianna Thomas – vocalist, has been hailed as
one of the best young straight ahead jazz singers of her generation, by Will Friedwald at the Wall Street Journal and “a marvelous new artist who has all it takes to reach the top of the jazz profession and music in general,” by Jazz Messenger Curtis Fuller.
This Friday, August 22nd, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music “The Marriage of Latin Music and Jazz” – led by Joe Conzo Sr., a Latin music historian, will share rare recordings from his private collection, followed by a Q & A. If you can’t make it on Friday, you have another chance to participate on Wednesday, August 27th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Pelham Fritz Center in Marcus Garvey Park
*concert seating is free and available on a first come, first served basis. Please rsvp for panel discussions at firstname.lastname@example.org