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Charlie Parker

所属教程:People in America 更新:04-20
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VOICE 1:

I'm Shirley Griffith.

VOICE 2:

Graphic Image
Graphic Image

And I'm Steve Ember with the VOASpecial English program, People in America. Today, we tell about oneof America's greatest jazz musicians, Charlie Parker. He influencedthe direction of jazz music during his short lifetime. His influencecontinues today.

(("Bird of Paradise"))

VOICE 1:

Charlie Parker forever changed the performance and writing ofjazz music. He developed a new style of jazz called "bebop." It wasdifferent from the dance or "swing" style that was popular foryears.

Performers of bebop left the traditional musical melody andplayed a song freely, with the music and rhythm that was felt at thetime. So, the same song could be played in a different way each timeit was performed. Charlie Parker said, "music is your ownexperience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, itwon't come out of your horn. "

VOICE 2:

Charlie Parker was born August, twenty-nineth, nineteen-twenty,in the middle western state of Kansas. He had his first musiclessons in the local public schools. His mother bought him asaxophone in nineteen-thirty-three. Two years later, he decided toleave school and become a professional musician.

For the next four years, he worked mainly in Kansas City,Missouri, where jazz music had become popular. Charlie developed asa musician by playing with different groups in public eating anddrinking places called nightclubs.

He also learned by listening to older local jazz musicians.During this time, Charlie developed serious problems that were toaffect him the rest of his life. He became dependent on alcohol andthe illegal drug heroin.

VOICE 1:

One night in nineteen-thirty-six, the young musician decided totake part in a "jam session." Musicians from all over Kansas Citywould play for fun during these unplanned performances. These jamsessions often became musical battles. The better, the faster, thestronger, the more creative musician would win.

Charlie began to play the saxophone that night. He played wellfor a while. But he then became lost in the music. The drummer threwdown his instrument and brought Charlie to a halt. Charlie latersaid, "I went home and cried and didn't play again for threemonths." The incident, however, made Charlie work even harder toimprove his playing.

VOICE 2:

In nineteen-thirty-nine, Charlie went to New York City. He stayedfor almost one year. He was able to get a few paying jobs playingthe saxophone. Most of his time, though, was spent playing in unpaidjam sessions. It was during this time that he began to develop hisown style of jazz.

He said later that this was when he made a big discovery. He wasunhappy playing songs the same way all the time. He thought therehad to be another way to play. He said, "I could hear it sometimes,but I couldn't play it." He began working on the song "Cherokee." Heused the higher notes of a chord as a melody line and made otherchanges. He now could play the things he had been hearing.

It was in December, nineteen-thirty-nine, that Charlie Parkermade this discovery. He later said that with it, he "came alive. "Here he is playing "Cherokee":

(("Cherokee"))

VOICE 1:

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Charlie Parker's name firstappeared in the press reports about music in nineteen-forty. Duringthe next five years, he joined different bands. He played with theEarl Hines Orchestra and the Billy Eckstine orchestra. He alsoplayed with other young jazz musicians who helped make the new soundknown. Trumpet players Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, and pianistsThelonius Monk and Bud Powell were some of them.

Parker was considered the greatest of the bebop jazz musicians.This song, "Now's the Time," is one of his hits during this time:

(("Now's the Time"))

VOICE 2:

Parker's continuing drug habit was affecting him. He often waslate for performances. Or he missed them. He had decided he did notlike the music of the big bands. He apparently did not feel at easeplaying with a big band, even one that followed his own musicalideas.

In nineteen-forty-five, he returned to New York City. He had theidea of starting a small jazz group. In New York, he joined DizzyGillespie. Their work together was among the greatest in Americanmusic history. They enjoyed the support of younger musicians. Yet,they had to fight the criticism of those opposed to any newdevelopment in jazz.

That year, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie took the new jazzsound to California. Charlie continued to record and perform in LosAngeles, even after dizzy returned to New York. It was during thistime that Parker recorded "Ornithology:"

(("Ornithology"))

VOICE 1:

In nineteen-forty-six, Charlie Parker suffered a nervousbreakdown. His dependence on heroin and alcohol led to this severemental condition. He was sent to a hospital and stayed there for sixmonths.

He returned to New York City in nineteen-forty-seven. Thefollowing four years are considered his most successful. He formedhis own small bands and played with other groups. He visited Europethree times, where he recorded about half of the albums he evermade.

In July, nineteen-fifty-one, New York City officials took awayhis right to play in nightclubs because he used illegal drugs. Hisdebts greatly increased. His physical and mental health began tofail.

VOICE 2:

Charlie Parker was given a permit to play in New York again twoyears later. Jobs, though, were difficult to find. He finally got achance to play for two nights in March, nineteen-fifty-five. It wasat Birdland, the most famous jazz nightclub in New York City.Birdland had opened in nineteen-forty-nine. It was named after"Bird," as Charlie Parker's followers called him.

Parker knew those performances might be his last chance tore-claim the success he had gained only a few years earlier. Hislast public appearance was on March fifth, nineteen-fifty-five, atBirdland. It was not a success. He died seven days later of a heartattack. He was thirty-four.

VOICE 1:

Charlie Parker's influence on modern jazz music continues tolive. He led many artists to "play what they hear." Jazz musicianscontinue to perform his music, often copying his sound and style.But, experts say, no one has ever played the same as "Bird".

(("Scrapple from the Apple"))

VOICE 2:

This Special English program was written by Vivian Bournazian.I'm Steve Ember.

VOICE 1:

And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week for anotherPeople in America program on the Voice of America.

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