Charlie "Bird" Parker dropped jazz on its head in the mid-1940s, drastically altering its sound and the type of bands who played it. The alto saxophonist, along with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, introduced bebop: a faster and more fiery sound than ever before. Parker also wrote many tunes that have turned into jazz standards, like "Salt Peanuts", "Ornithology", and "Yardbird Suite".
But his music is not often heard as the main focus of a concert. The faculty at the Carleton University Jazz Camp will be correcting this omission, with a tribute to Charlie Parker Wednesday night.
As saxophonist Mike Tremblay puts it: "It's going to be a load of fun and some great music and some great old tunes with some new treatments, some old treatments. A lot of blowing. Man, it's going to be great. Some fast tempos. I'll have to get a good warm-up in."
Tremblay won't be directly trying to channel Parker, though. "It will definitely be a reinterpretation. We'll be treating some of the tunes in a standard way and other tunes we'll be doing a little differently."
There will be many Parker standards – for example, "Donna Lee" – but also bebop tunes from the same era, like "Lover Man" and "Star Eyes", he said. "We'll pay respect to the heritage of the tunes, but [the musicians will] also bring their own unique interpretations."
Seven musicians will be on stage for the concert, and Tremblay said it would allow the trumpeters in particular to play outside their normal roles. "Nick Dyson is a wonderful lead player, but he's also a good jazz player and it will be nice to hear him be able to stretch out for a change on tunes, because often you just hear him play lead trumpet. Dave Dunlop ... is around playing lead in a lot of different bands and you really don't get to hear him solo a lot, so that will be nice."
For the students at the jazz camp, the concert will "let them hear some of the tunes that they've heard before, some of the tunes that they've worked on. A lot of them do a lot of listening and they've heard the original records and now they get to hear it live. You don't often get to hear a lot of those tunes live. We've got some great horn players, so it's going to be a lot of fun."
– Alayne McGregor
Other coverage of the 2011 Carleton University Jazz Camp:
- This way to the Carleton U Jazz Camp and Music school
- Monday: Brian Browne Trio opens 2011 Carleton U Jazz Camp concert series
- Tuesday: Alex Dean charms the audience at the 2011 Carleton U Jazz Camp concert series
- Wednesday: Tribute to Charlie Parker at the 2011 Carleton U Jazz Camp concert series
- Thursday: The Roddy Ellias Trio at the 2011 Carleton U Jazz Camp concert series