If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
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By 1950 jazz critics and fans alike were lauding Parker as the hero of modern jazz. Attempts were made to market him to larger audiences. He recorded an album called Charlie Parker With Strings in 1949 that confounded some jazz purists, but remained popular. Yet his best sides from this period were recorded with smaller outfits. His status was now world renowned, touring Europe, opening his own nightclub, and enjoying financial success.
Yet Parker's other seamier life was catching up with him. Heroin and alcohol dependency, a narcotics arrest leading to a revoking of his New York City cabaret license, unprofessional behavior, and mental health issues saw Parker slipping into a morass. He tried to commit suicide twice in 1954 and dissipation continued until his death on March 5, 1955. The attending physician had guessed Parker's age to be 60 years old, yet he was only 34.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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