1995 32¢ Charlie “Bird” Parker
Issue Date: September 16, 1995
City: Monterey, CA
Printed By: Sterling Sommers for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11.1 x 11
Charles Parker Jr. was born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920. His mother bought him an alto saxophone when he was 11, and he played baritone horn in the school band. When he was only 15 years old, Parker quit school and became a full-time musician. He soon became involved in what would be a great source of tragedy throughout his life: narcotics addiction.
Parker developed his inimitable style while wandering in and out of various bands, including those of Jay McShann, Earl Hines, and Billy Eckstine. His incredible playing earned him many nicknames, including Charlie, Yardbird, and Bird. In 1941, while playing with McShann in New York City, he met trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. These two men were among the most prominent of a group of musicians credited with creating the “bebop” or “bop” style.
A contemporary of Parker once said, “If Charlie wanted to invoke plagiarism laws, he could sue almost anyone who’s made a record in the last ten years.” A true musical genius, Parker’s mastery of the saxophone, improvisational skill, and compositions elevated the status quo for all aspects of jazz music. His best known works include “Now’s The Time,” “Yardbird Suite,” “Confirmation,” and “Relaxin’ At Camarillo.”