Birdland (New York jazz club)
Birdland is a jazz club started in New York City on December 15, 1949. The original Birdland, located at 1678 Broadway, just north of West 52nd Street in Manhattan, was closed in 1965 due to increased rents, but it re-opened for one night in 1979. A revival began in 1986 with the opening of the second nightclub by the same name, now located in Manhattan's Theater District, not far from the original nightclub's location; the current location is in the same building as the previous New York Observer headquarters. 1678 Broadway, below the street level Irving Levy, Morris Levy, Oscar Goodstein – along with six other partners – purchased the venue in 1949 from Joseph "Joe the Wop" Catalano. They adopted the name "Birdland" to capitalize on the popularity of their regular headliner Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, who, at that time, had been enjoying undisputed popularity as a jazz artist; the club was scheduled to open on September 8, 1949, but this was put back to December 15 following difficulties in getting a liquor license.
The opening night was "A Journey Through Jazz", consisting of various styles of the music up to that point, played by "Maxie Kaminsky, Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Harry Belafonte, Stan Getz, Lennie Tristano, in that order."Parker, in reality, played few jobs at Birdland, not because he was troublesome, according to Gene Ramey, Goodstein said, "He was continually wanting money." Ramey had persuaded Goodstein to let Parker perform at Birdland with his band on a pair of Monday nights in 1954. The neon sign at the front of the club read, "Birdland, Jazz Corner of the World"; the venue had space for a full orchestra. It had a long bar, booths, a fenced-in bullpen — a drinkless area, nicknamed "the peanut gallery", where teenagers were sometimes allowed to watch. Irving Levy and Morris Levy were the main owners but the club was operated by Oscar Goodstein, who took tickets and tended the bar. In the late 50s, he moved his post to the back hallway where he could compare the trays from the kitchen with the order tickets.
Some lucky few could spend the wee hours chatting with him and reading letters musicians like Charlie Mingus sent him. Goldstein called Mingus a prolific writer; the name was carried through into the feature of caged finches inside the club. The venue attracted other jazz musicians who made recordings there; this includes Art Blakey's 1954 two-volume A Night at Birdland, most of John Coltrane's Live at Birdland, the Toshiko – Mariano Quartet's Live at Birdland, Count Basie's Basie at Birdland. Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Louie Bellson, Bud Powell, Johnny Smith, Stan Getz, Lester Young, many others made appearances. George Shearing's standard "Lullaby of Birdland" was named in the club's honor; the club's original master of ceremonies, the diminutive, four feet tall Pee Wee Marquette, was notorious for mispronouncing the names of musicians if they refused to tip him. The disc jockey Symphony Sid broadcast live on WJZ early in the club's existence. During the 1950s, Birdland became a fashionable place for celebrities to be seen, with Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Sugar Ray Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, Joe Louis, Judy Garland and others as regulars.
Irving Levy was stabbed to death at the club Sunday, January 26, 1959 while Urbie Green was performing. The body was discovered in the rear near the service area; the stabbing had occurred unnoticed by the patrons. Irving's younger brother, took over Irving's role in the club, from 1959 through the early 1960s, the club enjoyed great success as one of the few remaining jazz clubs in the area. Johnnie Garry, the production coordinator and historian for the Jazzmobile project, managed the club in the early 1960s. Chapter 11 bankruptcy In June 1964, Birdland filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York Federal Court. Goodstein was president of the club at the time. Creditors included Goodstein himself, NLP Restaurant, Gerry Mulligan, booked through International Talent Associates. In an effort to stem losses in 1964, Birdland started booking jazz artists that played a more traditional style of jazz, rather than the "way-out" artists. In 1965, Goodstein closed Birdland; the premises was taken over by Lloyd Price, an R&B and rock-and-roll singer who re-dedicated the venue and named it the Turntable.
2745 Broadway at 105th The current version of Birdland owned by John R. Valenti, opened in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1985, at 2745 Broadway at 105th Street, presented emerging artists to a neighborhood audience.315 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues In 1996, Valenti moved the club to West 44th Street, west of Eighth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan where it features a full weekly schedule of performers. Notable performers have included Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Lee Konitz, Diana Krall, Dave Holland, Regina Carter, Tito Puente, it is notable as the club where Toshiko Akiyoshi's jazz orchestra, on December 29, 2003, played its final concert. As mentioned above she had played at the original Birdland. Resident bands The Birdland Big Band Birdland was popular with many of the writers of the Beat generation. Reference to Birdland is made in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road: "I saw him wish a well-to-do man Merry Christmas so volubly a five-spot in change for twenty was never missed.
We spent it in Birdland, the bop joint. Lester Young was on the stand, eternity on his huge eyelids." Birdland is referenced in Emmett Grogan's novel Ringolevio. "From the get-go, Birdland became one of his favourite haunts." George Shear
West Side Highway
The West Side Highway is a surface section of New York State Route 9A that runs from West 72nd Street along the Hudson River to the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. It replaced the West Side Elevated Highway, built between 1929 and 1951, shut down in 1973 due to neglect and lack of maintenance, was dismantled by 1989; the term "West Side Highway" is mistakenly used to include the roadway north of 72nd Street, properly known as the Henry Hudson Parkway. The current highway was complete by 2001, but required some reconstruction due to damage sustained in the 9/11 attacks, it uses the surface streets that existed before the elevated highway was built: West Street, Eleventh Avenue and Twelfth Avenue. A short section of 12th Avenue still runs between 125th and 138th Streets, under the Riverside Drive Viaduct. Eleventh Avenue is a separate street north of 22nd Street; the portion between West 42nd Street and Canal Street is part of the Lincoln Highway. The highway is a six-to-eight lane urban boulevard, with the northernmost section, from 59th Street to 72nd Street, elevated above a former rail yard adjacent to tracks still used by Amtrak.
Trucks and buses are allowed only on the surface section. The West Side Highway's surface section takes three names: West Street from the Battery Park Underpass north to Tenth Avenue 11th Avenue to 22nd Street, 12th Avenue to 59th Street; the highway begins from Battery Park close to the mouth of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel where it accepts traffic from the southern terminus of the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive. From there, the route passes close to the site of the World Trade Center at Vesey Street; the route continues with this name passing by numerous piers along the Hudson River until Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District where it becomes Eleventh Avenue. Eleventh Avenue begins just north of the intersection with Tenth Avenue; the highway is concurrent with Eleventh Avenue north of this point, passing by the 14th Street Park at 14th Street. The highway continues with this name alongside the Chelsea Piers until it reaches 22nd Street where the highway branches off from Eleventh Avenue onto Twelfth Avenue.
At 22nd Street, the highway continues as Twelfth Avenue passing by the Chelsea Waterside Park. It passes just west of the Javits Center from 34th Street to 38th Street and over the Lincoln Tunnel at 39th Street; the road continues past the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and Piers 84 to 92, a major cruise ship terminal building. At 54th Street, 12th Avenue attains a highway with service roads character, with the service roads running as far as 59th Street. From there, Twelfth Avenue becomes elevated and at 72nd Street, the highway becomes the Henry Hudson Parkway. Various proposals circulated in the 1920s to build an expressway on the west side. Among the proposals: Rail/Highway Double Decker – The New York Central Railroad proposed building a highway/rail double decked highway from 72nd Street to Canal Street, which would be constructed at no cost to the city, it would eliminate 106 grade crossings over 84 blocks. It ran into opposition because of fears. Hencken's Ten-story Train/Car/Office/People Mover – Engineer John Hencken proposed an exotic ten-story complex with a rail line underground, a road at street level, a people mover built above that, topped by ten stories of apartments and offices.
The highway would run on top of the ten-story buildings. A similar alternative was offered by Benjamin Battin. Manhattan borough president Julius Miller said that something had to be done right away and pushed through the plan for the West Side Elevated Highway, to bear his name; the proposal ran into stiff opposition. The City Club and New York City Mayor James J. Walker objected to the highway on the grounds that it would block waterfront-bound freight traffic. At the time, West Street exhibited a "daily avalanche of freight and passengers in traffic", was "walled by an unbroken line of bulkhead sheds and dock structures" blocking the view not only of the river, but of the ships being serviced, the commerce carried out on those piers and slips was vital to the economic health of the city, they believed that the plans should wait until the surface railroad tracks were removed in the area, at which point the elevated highway might not be necessary. Many objected. In 1929, construction started, the section between Canal Street and West 72nd Street was completed in 1937, with a "Southern Extension" to the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel completed in 1951.
Before the West Side Highway was built, the road along the Hudson River was a busy one, with significant cross traffic going to docks and ferries. At 22nd Street, most traffic continued north along Eleventh Avenue, along which the New York Central Railroad's West Side Line ran; the first official proposal for an elevated highway along Manhattan's west side was made by Police Commissioner Richard Edward Enright on January 12, 1924, in a letter to the New York City Board of Estimate. The highway was to be 100 feet wide, running north from the Battery to 72nd Street at Riverside Drive, West End Avenue, or Amsterdam Avenue. According to Enright, "During business hours West Street the most congested thoroughfare in the city. Vast quantities of the city's foodstuffs handled in the territory adjacent to West Street." He cited traffic congestion as an extra cost of doing a blockage for fire engines. On February 2, 1925, it was announced that the railroad would bu
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz trumpeter and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz. Born and raised in Illinois, Davis left his studies at the Juilliard School in New York City and made his professional debut as a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker's bebop quintet from 1944 to 1948. Shortly after, he recorded the Birth of the Cool sessions for Capitol Records, which were instrumental to the development of cool jazz. In the early 1950s, Miles Davis recorded some of the earliest hard bop music while on Prestige Records but did so haphazardly due to a heroin addiction. After a acclaimed comeback performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955, he signed a long-term contract with Columbia Records and recorded the 1957 album'Round About Midnight, it was his first work with saxophonist John Coltrane and bassist Paul Chambers, key members of the sextet he led into the early 1960s.
During this period, he alternated between orchestral jazz collaborations with arranger Gil Evans, such as the Spanish-influenced Sketches of Spain, band recordings, such as Milestones and Kind of Blue. The latter recording remains one of the most popular jazz albums of all time, having sold over four million copies in the U. S. Davis made several line-up changes while recording Someday My Prince Will Come, his 1961 Blackhawk concerts, Seven Steps to Heaven, another mainstream success that introduced bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock, drummer Tony Williams. After adding saxophonist Wayne Shorter to his new quintet in 1964, Davis led them on a series of more abstract recordings composed by the band members, helping pioneer the post-bop genre with albums such as E. S. P and Miles Smiles, before transitioning into his electric period. During the 1970s, he experimented with rock, African rhythms, emerging electronic music technology, an ever-changing line-up of musicians, including keyboardist Joe Zawinul, drummer Al Foster, guitarist John McLaughlin.
This period, beginning with Davis' 1969 studio album In a Silent Way and concluding with the 1975 concert recording Agharta, was the most controversial in his career and challenging many in jazz. His million-selling 1970 record Bitches Brew helped spark a resurgence in the genre's commercial popularity with jazz fusion as the decade progressed. After a five-year retirement due to poor health, Davis resumed his career in the 1980s, employing younger musicians and pop sounds on albums such as The Man with the Horn and Tutu. Critics were unreceptive but the decade garnered the trumpeter his highest level of commercial recognition, he performed sold-out concerts worldwide while branching out into visual arts and television work, before his death in 1991 from the combined effects of a stroke and respiratory failure. In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which recognized him as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz." Rolling Stone described him as "the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century," while Gerald Early called him inarguably one of the most influential and innovative musicians of that period.
Miles Dewey Davis III was born on May 26, 1926, to an affluent African-American family in Alton, fifteen miles north of St. Louis, he had an older sister, Dorothy Mae, a younger brother, Vernon. His mother, Cleota Mae Henry of Arkansas, was a music teacher and violinist, his father, Miles Dewey Davis Jr. of Arkansas, was a dentist. They owned a 200-acre estate near Arkansas with a profitable pig farm. In Pine Bluff, he and his siblings fished and rode horses. In 1927, the family moved to Illinois, they lived on the second floor of a commercial building behind a dental office in a predominantly white neighborhood. From 1932 to 1934, Davis attended John Robinson Elementary School, an all-black school Crispus Attucks, where he performed well in mathematics and sports. At an early age he liked music blues, big bands, gospel. In 1935, Davis received his first trumpet as a gift from a friend of his father, he took lessons from Elwood Buchanan, a teacher and musician, a patient of his father. His mother wanted him to play violin instead.
Against the fashion of the time, Buchanan stressed the importance of playing without vibrato and encouraged him to use a clear, mid-range tone. Davis said. In years Davis said, "I prefer a round sound with no attitude in it, like a round voice with not too much tremolo and not too much bass. Just right in the middle. If I can't get that sound I can't play anything." In 1939, the family moved to 1701 Kansas Avenue in East St. Louis. On his thirteenth birthday his father bought him a new trumpet, Davis began to play in local bands, he took additional trumpet lessons from Joseph Gustat, principal trumpeter of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. In 1941, the 15-year-old attended East St. Louis Lincoln High School, where he joined the marching band directed by Buchanan and entered music competitions. Years Davis said that if he lost a contest, it was because of racism, but he added that these experiences made him a better musician; when a drummer asked him to play a certain passage of music, he couldn't do it, he began to learn music theory.
"I went and got everything, every book I could get to learn
New York State Route 9A
New York State Route 9A is a state highway in the vicinity of New York City in the United States. Its southern terminus is at the northern end of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel in New York City, where it intersects with both the unsigned Interstate 478 and FDR Drive; the northern terminus of NY 9A is at U. S. Route 9 in Peekskill, it is predominantly an alternate route of US 9 between Peekskill. In Westchester County, NY 9A follows the Briarcliff–Peekskill Parkway; the origins of NY 9A date back to the 1920s when an alternate route of then-NY 6 from Yonkers to Tarrytown was designated as New York State Route 6A. NY 6 was redesignated as US 9 in 1927. NY 9A was extended north to Ossining in the late 1930s. In 1933, the Briarcliff–Peekskill Parkway opened as New York State Route 404. All of NY 404 was incorporated into an extended NY 9A on January 1, 1949. NY 9A was extended northward to Peekskill in 1967 following the completion of the Croton Expressway and southward to the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel in the mid-1990s.
NY 9A begins in Lower Manhattan at the north end of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel and heads north on the surface West Side Highway and Henry Hudson Parkway, crossing US 9 for the first time at the east end of the George Washington Bridge. After crossing into the Bronx via the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority-owned Henry Hudson Bridge, NY 9A proceeds to leave the parkway at exit 23, joining US 9 on Broadway; the portions of NY 9A between Lower Manhattan and 72nd Street, from 125th Street to the New York City line are owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, the portion between 72nd and 125th Streets is owned by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the entire highway within city limits is maintained on a daily basis by the New York City Department of Transportation. The concurrency between US 9 and NY 9A runs for 2.87 miles within the city of Yonkers. All of NY 9A within Yonkers is maintained by the city. NY 9A heads north as Saw Mill River Road, it parallels the Saw Mill River Parkway to the west side of Hawthorne.
The route meets the southbound New York State Thruway at a partial interchange and meets I-287 at a full interchange that provides a route to the northbound Thruway. NY 100 merges with NY 9A to form a 3.11-mile concurrency carrying the names Saw Mill River Road and Briarcliff–Peekskill Parkway, parallel to the Taconic State Parkway. NY 9A exits off this highway along the Briarcliff–Peekskill Parkway, while NY 100 continues straight as Saw Mill River Road. NY 9A merges to form a brief concurrency with US 9 as the Croton Expressway in Ossining just south of the Croton River; the second concurrency between US 9 and NY 9A runs for 1.10 miles, with NY 9A leaving the Croton Expressway at NY 129 in Croton-on-Hudson. The highway heads north along Riverside Avenue and joins old Albany Post Road. After crossing US 9 once more in Cortlandt, NY 9A ends at the Welcher Avenue interchange in southern Peekskill. Prior to the establishment of the U. S. Highway System, US 9 was designated as NY 6. An alternate route from Yonkers to Tarrytown was assigned the NY 6A designation by 1926.
This ran along the present alignment of NY 9A from Yonkers to north of Elmsford, where it turned west on Old Saw Mill River Road, Neperan Road, County House Road and Bedford Road to end at NY 6 in Tarrytown. NY 6 was redesignated as US 9 when U. S. Highways were first posted in New York in 1927, it was renumbered to NY 9A as part of the 1930 renumbering of state highways in New York. New York City did not mark numbered routes within its limits. In 1932, the New York Automobile Club drafted a plan establishing alignments for several routes through the city. In this plan, NY 9A went south through the Bronx and into Manhattan on Broadway while US 9 used Riverdale Avenue north of 230th Street; as a result, the two routes would have had a short concurrency across Spuyten Duyvil Creek. NY 9A would have split to the south on Tenth Avenue at 218th Street in order to join the Harlem River Drive via Nagle Avenue and Dyckman Street. From there it would head west on 155th Street to Amsterdam Avenue, where it would head south to 79th Street, heading west there to rejoin US 9 at Riverside Drive.
US 9 would have continued south through lower Manhattan to Staten Island via the Staten Island Ferry. The New York Automobile Club released another plan in 1933; this plan made no changes to NY 9A. In the final plan implemented in mid-December 1934, no route was assigned to the Harlem River Drive–Amsterdam Avenue corridor. Instead, NY 9A splitting at Broadway and Dyckman Street. NY 9A ran south along the west side of Manhattan on Riverside Drive and the West Side Elevated Highway to end at the entrance and exit plazas of the Holland Tunnel. US 9 was shifted northward to enter New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge. In Westchester County, Saw Mill River Road followed the Saw Mill River Parkway corridor from Eastview to Hawthorne; this section of Saw Mi
Arthur Tatum Jr. was an American jazz pianist. Tatum is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, his performances were hailed for their technical proficiency and creativity, which set a new standard for jazz piano virtuosity. Critic Scott Yanow wrote, "Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries." Tatum's mother, Mildred Hoskins, was born in Martinsville, around 1890, in Toledo was a domestic worker. His father, Arthur Tatum Sr. was born in Statesville, North Carolina, had steady employment as "a mechanic of some sort". In 1909, they made their way from North Carolina to begin a new life in Ohio; the couple had four children. He was followed by Arline nine years and by Karl after another two years. Karl became a social worker; the Tatum family was regarded as church-going. From infancy, Tatum had impaired vision. Several explanations for this have been posited, he had eye operations, which meant that at the age of eleven he could see things that were close to him, could distinguish colors.
Any benefits from these procedures were reversed, when he was assaulted in his early twenties. As a result, he was blind in his left eye and had limited vision in his right. Despite this, there are multiple accounts of him enjoying playing cards and pool. Accounts vary on whether Tatum's parents played any musical instruments, but it is that he was exposed at an early age to church music, including through the Grace Presbyterian Church that his parents attended, he began playing the piano from a young age, playing by ear and aided by an excellent memory and sense of pitch. Other musicians reported, he learned tunes from the radio, by copying piano roll recordings. In an interview as an adult, Tatum rejected the story that his playing style had developed because he had found ways to reproduce piano roll recordings made by two pianists; as a child he was very sensitive to the piano's intonation and insisted it be tuned often. Although piano was the most obvious application of his mental and physical skills, he had an encyclopedic memory for Major League Baseball statistics.
Tatum first attended Jefferson School in Toledo moved to the School for the Blind in Columbus, Ohio late in 1924. He was there for less than a year before transferring to the Toledo School of Music, he had formal piano lessons with Overton G. Rainey at either the Jefferson School or the Toledo School of Music. Rainey, visually impaired taught the classical tradition, as he did not improvise and discouraged his students from playing jazz. Based on this history, it is reasonable to assume that Tatum was self-taught as a pianist. By the time he was a teenager, Tatum was asked to play at various social events. Tatum drew inspiration from the pianists James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, who exemplified the stride piano style, from the more modern Earl Hines, six years Tatum's senior. Tatum identified Waller as his biggest influence, while pianist Teddy Wilson and saxophonist Eddie Barefield suggested that one of his favorite jazz pianists was Hines. Another influence was pianist Lee Sims, who did not play jazz, but did use chord voicings and an orchestral approach that appeared in Tatum's playing.
In 1927, Tatum began playing on Toledo radio station WSPD as'Arthur Tatum, Toledo's Blind Pianist', during interludes in Ellen Kay's shopping chat program and soon had his own program. During 1928–29, his radio program was re-broadcast nationwide. After regular club dates, Tatum would decamp to after-hours clubs to hang out with other musicians, he played for hours on end into the dawn. From near the start of the pianist's career, "his accomplishment was of a different order from what most people, from what musicians, had heard, it made musicians reconsider their definitions of excellence, of what was possible." As word of Tatum spread, national performers passing through Toledo, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Joe Turner, Fletcher Henderson dropped in to hear him play. In 1932, vocalist Adelaide Hall was touring the United States with two pianists. After arriving in Toledo, she heard Tatum play, recruited him; this provided him with the opportunity to go to New York, which many other musicians had encouraged him to do, as it was the centre of the jazz world at that time.
On August 5 that year and her band recorded two sides. Two more sides with Hall followed five days as did a solo piano test-pressing of "Tea for Two", not released for several decades. Tatum's only known child, was born when Tatum was twenty-four; the mother was a waitress in Toledo. It is that neither had a major role in raising their son, who pursued a military career and died in the 1980s. Tatum and Jackson were not married. After his arrival in New York, Tatum participated in a cutting contest at Morgan's bar in Harlem, with the established stride piano masters – Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith. Standard contest pieces included Johnson's "Harlem Strut" and "Carolina Shout" and Waller's "Handful of Keys". Tatum played his arrangements of "Tea for Two" and "Tiger Rag". Reminiscing about Tatum's debut, Jo
Charles Parker Jr. known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Parker was a influential jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, chord substitutions, his tone ranged from clean and penetrating to somber. Parker acquired the nickname "Yardbird" early in his career on the road with Jay McShann. This, the shortened form "Bird", continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology", "Bird Gets the Worm", "Bird of Paradise". Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual rather than just an entertainer. Charles Parker Jr. was born in Kansas City, Kansas at 852 Freeman Avenue, raised in Kansas City, Missouri near Westport and – in high school – near 15th and Olive Street.
He was the only child of Charles Parker and Adelaide "Addie" Bailey, of mixed Choctaw and African American background. He attended Lincoln High School in September 1934, but withdrew in December 1935, just before joining the local musicians' union and to pursue his musical career full-time, his childhood sweetheart and future wife, Rebecca Ruffin, graduated from Lincoln High School in June 1935. Parker began playing the saxophone at age 11, at age 14 he joined his high school band where he studied under Bandmaster Alonzo Lewis, his mother purchased a new alto saxophone around the same time. His father, Charles Sr. was required to travel for work, but provided some musical influence because he was a pianist and singer on the T. O. B. A. Circuit, he became a Pullman waiter or chef on the railways. Parker's mother Addie worked nights at the local Western Union office, his biggest influence at that time was a young trombone player named Robert Simpson, who taught him the basics of improvisation. In the mid-1930s, Parker began to practice diligently.
During this period he mastered improvisation and developed some of the ideas that led to the development of Bebop. In an interview with Paul Desmond, he said that he spent three to four years practicing up to 15 hours a day. Bands led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten influenced Parker, he played with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, where he perfected his technique, with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time influenced Parker's developing style. In late spring 1936, Parker played at a jam session at the Reno Club in Kansas City, his attempt to improvise failed. This prompted Jo Jones, the drummer for Count Basie's Orchestra, to contemptuously throw a cymbal at his feet as a signal to leave the stage. However, rather than discouraging Parker, the incident caused him to vow to practice harder, turned out to be a seminal moment in the young musician's career when he returned as a new man a year later. Parker proposed to his wife, Rebecca Ruffin, the same year and the two were married on July 25, 1936.
In the fall of 1936, Parker traveled with a band from Kansas City to the Ozarks for the opening of Clarence Musser's Tavern south of Eldon, Missouri. Along the way, the caravan of musicians had a car accident and Parker broke three ribs and fractured his spine; the accident led to Parker's ultimate troubles with pain killers and opioids heroin. Parker struggled with drug use for the rest of his life. Despite his near death experience on the way to the Ozarks in 1936, Parker returned to the area in 1937 where he spent some serious time woodshedding and developing his sound. In 1938 Parker joined pianist Jay McShann's territory band; the band toured other venues of the southwest, as well as Chicago and New York City. Parker made his professional recording debut with McShann's band. In 1939 Parker moved to New York City, he held several other jobs as well. He worked for nine dollars a week as a dishwasher at Jimmie's Chicken Shack, where pianist Art Tatum performed, it was in 1939 in New York that Parker had his musical breakthrough that had begun in 1937 in the Missouri Ozarks.
Playing through the changes on Cherokee, Parker discovered a new musical vocabulary and sound that forever shifted the course of music history. In 1940, he returned to Kansas City to perform with Jay McShann and to attend the funeral of his father, Charles, Sr, he played Fairyland Park in the summer with McShann's band at 75th and Prospect for all-white audiences. The up-side of the summer was his introduction to Dizzy Gillespie by Step Buddy Anderson near 19th and Vine in the summer of 1940. After the summer season at Fairyland, Parker left with McShann's band for gigs in the region. On a trip to Omaha he earned his nickname from McShann and the band after an incident with a chicken and the tour bus. In 1942 Parker left McShann's band and played for one year with Earl Hines, whose band included Dizzy Gillespie, who played with Parker as a duo; this period is undocumented, due to the strike of 1942–1943 by the American Federation of Musicians, during which time few professional recordings were made.
Parker joined a group of young musicians, played in after-hours clubs in Harlem, such as Clark Monroe's Uptown House. These young iconoclasts included Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk, guitarist Charlie Christian, drummer Kenny Clarke; the beboppers' attitude was summed up in a famous quotation attributed to Monk by Mary Lou Williams