Not Out Of Nowhere

Charlie Parker


A 2020 documentary on the innovative altoist

To celebrate Charlie Parker’s centennial in 2020, a documentary was filmed by Kansas City’s PBS station.

Four different people talk about Parker’s life with an emphasis on his early Kansas City years: biographer Chuck Haddix, altoist Bobby Watson, altoist Logan Richardson, and trumpeter Lonnie McFadden.

In addition, Watson plays a few numbers with his quartet (of the three, “Confirmation” is the most exciting and relevant), Richardson creates an unaccompanied version of “Now’s The Time,” and McFadden (with a plunger mute) performs a lowdown rendition of “Parker’s Mood.”

In general, the stories are fresh, particularly those of McFadden because his parents (his father was tap dancer Jimmy McFadden) were friends of Parker’s.

One hears about Parker’s early days, his humiliation at the Reno Club (leading to him practicing 12-14 hours a day for 3 years), his life up to 1942 when he left Kansas City for New York, a brief discussion of the years that followed, and the relevance of Charlie Parker today along with the enormous impact that he has continued to have on a countless number of people throughout the world.

-Scott Yanow

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