To Honour Charlie Parker


“Since I was seventeen I thought I might be a star. I’d think about all my heroes, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix… I had a romantic feeling about how these people became famous.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat

 
 

Bird on Money, 1981

The painting is an homage to one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s heroes, jazz saxman Charlie Parker. Rather than a conventional portrait, Basquiat portrays Parker as a chicken, or yardbird, which was one of the musician’s nicknames. It’s painted in a loose, neo-expressionist style the artist helped pioneer in the 1980s.

“Para Morir,” in the bottom right, means “to die.” At left, the words “Green Wood” are set above a diagram for Green-Wood Cemetery, located in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the artist was born in 1960, collector Mera Rubell told a Raleigh, N.C., reporter in an article. That is not where Parker is buried but, eerily, it’s where Basquiat was laid to rest seven years after he made this painting.

 
 

CPRKR, 1982

 
 

Charles The First, 1982

 
 

Discography I, 1983

 
 

Horn Players, 1983

The “ORNITHOLOGY” of Basquiat’s Horn Players references a Charlie Parker composition of the same name, a song that Eric Lott’s has called “the national anthem of bop”. But Ornithology is a reproduction and repetition of the jazz standard How High the Moon, but in its repetition of it and reproduction of it, Parker creates something new, a new sound, a new music born from iteration that is anything but silent.

 
 

Arm and Hammer II, 1984

The one on the right – Warhol’s – is a faithful reproduction of the iconic logo, with a beefy arm brandishing a hammer, while on the right, Basquiat presents Charlie Parker with a saxophone at his lips as the logo’s centerpiece.

 
 

Bird of Paradise, 1984

 
 

Untitled (Estrella), 1985

 
 

Now’s the Time, 1985

 
 

To listen to Charlie Parker’s Now is the Time, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

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3 thoughts on “To Honour Charlie Parker

  1. Pingback: Now’s the time | Around the edges

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