Bird Lives @ 100: Knoxville Jazz Orchestra – postponed
Celebrating Charlie Parker’s Centennial
John Beasley + Magnus Lindgren, conductors/arrangers/instrumentalists
Charlie Parker Centennial Concert “Bird Lives @ 100”
Co-conductors/arrangers/producers: John Beasley and Magnus Lindgren
When they began discussing a project to celebrate the centennial of Charlie Parker – the father of modern jazz born in 1920 – American pianist John Beasley and Swedish saxophonist Magnus Lindgren had one specific goal: to build on and expand Parker’s work rather than simply reiterate it. The fact that each of them is also an accomplished orchestrator made it possible to accomplish that goal with “Bird Lives @ 100.”
Using Parker’s seminal recordings with strings as a starting point, Beasley and Lindgren have recast several of the bebop genius’s small-group recordings for a large ensemble that combines the power of the symphony orchestra with the vibrant colors of the jazz big band. Bolstered by the presence of world-class guest soloists, the music has a distinctly classical component, thanks to Lindgren’s extensive symphonic background, and underscored by Beasley’s reminder that Parker – especially toward the end of his short life – was increasingly intrigued by the work of modernist classical composers.
“It’s certainly different from the ‘Bird with Strings’ material,” Beasley says. “We mashed up some of the songs; we orchestrated some of Bird’s solos with modern techniques.” And they collaborated on these creations while separated by thousands of miles, due to the global pandemic, sending sound files back and forth and tweaking each other’s work. Explains Lindgren: “I never worked this way before, but always thought I would want to do that; John is so open minded, it made this easy.” Adds Beasley, “In jazz, whenever circumstances change, you have to adapt.”
Even among the many projects called forth by the Parker centennial, this bi-continental, genre-crossing extravaganza stands out for its innovative approach and wealth of inspiration.
EPK YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwi6rhUosbw