Saturday, October 1, 2011

Music Parable # 8: Stravinsky Encounters Charlie Parker


At the Birdland club in New York Charlie Parker is onstage playing the tune "Koko" and incorporates the main theme from Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s "the Firebird" into his solo. Stravinsky, who is visiting New York, is sitting in the front row and spills his scotch in ecstasy.

Parker had tried to contact Stravinsky previously while on a tour of West Germany and had purportedly been playing bits of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” in his solos, but before the New York club date, he had never managed to connect with the Russian composer.

Stravinsky would later go on to try to write Orchestral jazz pieces. They sound a lot like Gil Evans arrangements.

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