1920–1936

Charlie Parker Chronology

 

 

 

 

Created by Leif Bo Petersen

Last updated: September 9, 2017.

 

Date

Event

References/Further Details

 

1920

 

 

August 29

Charlie Parker

852, Freeman Avenue, Kansas City, KS.

Charlie [Charles] Parker is born.

Mother: Addie Parker (maiden name: Boxley). She grew up in Pittsburg County, OK., but moved to Kansas City as a young girl.

Father: Charles Parker Sr. grew up in the South, but moved to Kansas City with the family as a youngster. He was singer and dancer in Circus, Ringling Brothers. Later on he worked as servant on the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. He had married Addie in 1916.

Charlie Parker had a half-brother on his father’s side: John "Ike."

 

Addie Parker in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 158.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 7–9, 166 note 10.

 

1925

 

 

September

Charlie Parker

Douglass School, Kansas City, KS.

Charlie Parker starts in School.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 9.

1927

 

 

Summer

Charlie Parker

3527 Wyandotte Avenue, Kansas City, MO.

The family moves in here.

Charlie Parker attends the Penn School, Westport, MO.

 

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 9–10.

1931

 

 

 

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker's mother buys him an alto saxophone when the Penn School introduces a music program. He is not very interested and lends the instrument out to a friend.

 

M. Levin and J. S. Wilson, "No Bop Roots in Jazz," Down Beat, September 9, 1949. Here from reprint in C. Woideck (ed.), The Charlie Parker Companion (1998), 73.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 11, 13.

1932

 

 

Summer?

Charlie Parker

1516 Olive Street, Kansas City, MO.

Addie and Charlie Parker move to 1516 Olive Street.

The marriage of the parents has broken up in 1932.

Charlie Parker completes 7th grade at Sumner School.

C. Haddix, Bird –The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 11-12.

1933

 

 

September

Charlie Parker

Parker starts at Lincoln High School, Kansas City, MO.

He starts playing baritone horn in the school band.

 

Lawrence Keys in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 129.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 12-13.

 

1934

 

 

 

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker becomes friends with Lawrence Keys (p) and Robert Simpson (tb).

Charlie Parker’s mother buys him another alto saxophone.

 

Lawrence Keys in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 129.

Addie Parker in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 162: Buys Charlie another saxophone i 1936, when he starts playing with Simpson.

C. Haddix, Bird –The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 12-13.

 

April 10

Charlie Parker

The Ruffin family moves in at Addie Parker's place, 1516 Olive Street.

The Ruffin family: Mother, 4 sisters and a brother.

Charlie Parker falls in love with the 16 years old Rebecca Ellen Ruffin.

 

Addie Parker: in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 158.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 15.

Winter

The Hottentots

Incl. Oliver Todd (dir.)

Frankie's and Johnny's.  Kansas City, MO.

Charlie Parker joins the Hottentots, but is soon fired because of by lacking musical experience.

 

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 16.

1935

 

 

 

Jimmy Keith's Band

James Ross (tp), Jimmy Keith (ts), Shipley Gavan (?), Robert Wilson (?), James Ross (?), Lawrence Keys (p), Li'l Phil (dr).

High Hat Club, 22nd Street and Vine Street, Kansas City, MO.

c. 1935.

Charlie Parker jams with the Keith Band and gets humiliated.

In the Down Beat article Charlie Parker tells of playing at a jam session and not succeeding in trying a double tempo on Body and Soul.

In the Stearns/Maher interview-version Parker tells that he was playing Honeysuckle Rose along with Body and Soul.

 

M. Levin and J. S. Wilson, "No Bop Roots in Jazz," Down Beat, September 9, 1949. Reprinted in C. Woideck (ed.), The Charlie Parker Companion (1998), 74-75.

http://www.plosin.com/milesahead/BirdInterviews.html

Parker interviewed by M. Stearns and J. Maher, May 1, 1950, NY: Parker tells that this was before the car accident.

 

 

Mary Kirk Band

c. 1935.

Mary Kirk (Andy Kirk's wife, born Colston) had a small band for a while. Charlie Parker was in this.

 

Andy Kirk, Twenty Years On Wheel (1989), 80.

June 7

Charlie Parker

Parker performs with the Lincoln High School Orchestra at Rebecca Ruffins's graduation ceremony.

 

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 17.

August 4

Ten Chords of Rhythm

10 pieces incl. Charlie Parker (as) Lawrence Keys (p), Elmer Brown (dir).

The Solid Senders

Lincoln Hall. Kansas City, MO.

Opening August 4, 1935.

Regular Sunday evening dances, and later in September also Friday nights.

 

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 17.

October 31

George E. Lee and His Original Brunswick Orchestra (Chords of Rhythm)

12 pieces: Wendell Oliver, Ed McDowell, William Smith (tp); Robert Simpson (tb); Charlie Parker (as); Vernon Walker, Milton Chapman (saxes); Lawrence Keys (p); Wilfred Berry (g); Charles Forrester (b); Ernest Daniels (dr); Elmer Brown (dir); George E. Lee (voc).

Paseo Hall, Kansas City, MO.

The band members join Local 627 on October 31, 1935 in order to play a gig with George E. Lee at Paseo Hall.

 

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 18-19.

Autumn/winter

Chords of Rhythm

Paseo Hall, Kansas City, MO.

Charnwood Hall, St. Joseph, MO.

Disbanding December 24, 1935.

 

Lawrence Keys in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 129.

Ernest Daniels in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 75: States that they played with Lawrence Keys for a year and a half. He seems mostly to focus on the period before the members joined the AFM Local.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 19.

 

December

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker drops out of school for good.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 19.

1936

 

 

 

Unidentified Band

Greenleaf Gardens, Kansas City, MO.

Charlie Parker plays here during much of 1936

 

Gene Ramey in R. Reisner: Bird, The Legend of Charlie Parker (1962), 185: Dates 1935.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 19.

Spring late

Jam session

Reno Club, Kansas City, MO.

Charlie Parker and Gene Ramey jam with Basie musicians at a Spook Breakfast.

Parker gets humiliated by Jo Jones, who throws a cymbal after him

Gene Ramey in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 184-86.

F. Büchmann-Møller, You Just Fight For Your Life (1990), 226.: Count Basie with Lester Young was playing at the Reno Club February–September 1936

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 21.

 

July 25

Charlie Parker

Kansas City Courthouse, Kansas, MO.

Charlie Parker marries Rebecca Ellen Ruffin.

 

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 21.

November 26

Unidentified Band

Including: Clarence Davis (tp); Charlie Parker (as); Carrie Powell (p); Lon Tolbert (g); George Wilkerson (b); Ernie Daniels (dr).

Musser's Ozark Tavern, Eldon, MO

On the road to Eldon one of the cars crashes. Wilkerson dies and Parker and Daniels are severely hurt.

 

Ernest Daniels in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 75-76

Addie Parker in R. Reisner, Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1975), 167.

C. Haddix, Bird -The Life and Music of Charlie Parker (2013), 24-25.