UMKC Immersed in Charlie Parker’s Celebration

Chuck Haddix will serve as speaker for the Cockefair Luncheon

Jazz enthusiasts at the University of Missouri-Kansas City are actively engaged in numerous celebrations this month recognizing the contributions to jazz by legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, who would have turned 95 years old this month.

The Advisory Committee of the UMKC Carolyn Benton Cockefair Chair will host “Early Bird: Charlie Parker’s Life and Music in Kansas City” at its annual luncheon, presented by Chuck Haddix, author of Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker” and sound archivist and director of the UMKC Marr Sound Archives.

Also performing at the Aug. 13 luncheon will be Conservatory of Music and Dance alumnus and trumpeter Hermon Mehari and his ensemble. The luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Mission Hills Country Club. Additional information is available at the Cockefair website or the Central Ticket Office.

Haddix is the co-author of “Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop – A History,” chronicling Parker’s move to the lively scene in New York City. “Bird at the Jelly Joint” is an intimate view of Parker’s early days with local bands in Kansas City, written by Haddix and appears in the current online version of Jazz Ambassador Magazine. He also is host of KCUR’s “Fish Fry.”

The UMKC Library’s Marr Sound Archives is exhibiting Parker memorabilia including the only known picture of Parker playing the saxophone in Kansas City at “The Kangaroo,” the local band hangout at UMKC’s precursor, the University of Kansas City. The exhibit also includes his music contract signed in April 1941, 45 rpm records and albums and additional pictures of Parker.

In addition, the 2015 Charlie Parker Celebration opens on Aug. 20 at the American Jazz Museum with Haddix participating in the opening-day panel discussion on Parker and bebop with Scott DeVeaux and Clay Jenkins. Haddix also will serve as tour guide for the trolley ride to “Parkers’ Places” on Aug. 22 and will appear on “KC Live/KSHB 41” during Celebration Week. The date will be announced later this month.


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