In the early '50s, Charlie Parker made his home in Alphabet City, and though Bird has been gone a long time now, the neighborhood hasn't forgotten him.
The block he lived on was renamed Charlie Parker Place in 1992, and the next year the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival made its debut in Tompkins Square Park, right across the street.
Pianist Kenny Barron anchors the lineup at this year's festival, which kicks off uptown on Saturday at Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park (just blocks from the nightclub Minton's, where Parker and Dizzy Gillespie started laying the foundations for bebop), and moves downtown to Tompkins Square Park on Sunday.
- Friday, August 22, 6:30 p.m. Lecture: "The Marriage of Latin Music & Jazz." The New School for Contemporary Music. Free.
- Saturday, August 23, 3 p.m. The Wallace Roney Orchestra/Lionel Loueke/Melissa Aldana/Kris Bowers with special guest Christ Turner. Marcus Garvey Park. Free.
- Sunday, August 24, 3 p.m. Kenny Barron/Cindy Blackman Santana/Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith/Brianna Thomas. Tompkins Square Park. Free.
- Wednesday, August 27, 6:30 p.m. "The Marriage of Latin Music & Jazz." Pelham Fritz Center, Marcus Garvey Park. Free.
The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival annually assembles some of the finest musicians in the world who reflect Parker’s musical individuality and genius, to promote appreciation for this highly influential and world-renowned artist.