Animated Sheet Music of 3 Charlie Parker Jazz Classics: “Confirmation,” “Au Privave” & “Bloomdido”

We’ve shown you two exceed­ing­ly rare pieces of footage that cap­ture jazz sax­o­phon­ist Char­lie “Bird” Park­er in action: one fea­tur­ing him play­ing with Dizzy Gille­spie, his fel­low “found­ing father of bebop,” in 1952; and anoth­er, from two years before, where he plays with the likes of Cole­man Hawkins, Bud­dy Rich, Lester Young, and Ella Fitzger­ald. But since so lit­tle motion-pic­ture mate­r­i­al of Park­er exists, his fans must have savored even see­ing just the sheet music of his piece “Con­fir­ma­tion” ani­mat­ed when we post­ed it last year, along­side oth­er such videos bring­ing to life the nota­tion of works by greats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. “To see it ani­mat­ed,” wrote Josh Jones, “is to see Park­er dance a very dif­fer­ent step than Miles’ post-bop cool, one filled with com­plex melod­ic para­graphs instead of chordal phras­es.” Indeed.

And the source of those videos, Dan Cohen’s Youtube chan­nel Ani­mat­ed Sheet Music, has even more Park­er in store. Here you can also enjoy Cohen’s ani­ma­tions of “Au Pri­vave,” that 1951 bebop stan­dard with the mys­te­ri­ous­ly un-French French title, and Park­er’s 1953 blues “Bloom­di­do.” These will, nat­u­ral­ly, pro­vide a rich watch­ing and lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ence to those well-versed in the mechan­ics of both music nota­tion and the forms of jazz, but even if you know noth­ing at all about either sub­ject, these ani­ma­tions more than repay the short time spent. If you’d like to get less an expla­na­tion than a feel of how sheet music works, and indeed how jazz works, you could do much worse than get­ting it through a visu­al­iza­tion of Park­er’s inim­itable play­ing — and you might well come away with just a lit­tle bit more of a grasp on what, exact­ly, makes it inim­itable in the first place. “After spend­ing sev­er­al hours pre­cise­ly tim­ing Char­lie Park­er’s eighth and six­teenth notes,” writes Cohen, “I have come to the con­clu­sion that the dude can swing.” Indeed.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Char­lie Park­er Plays with Jazz Greats Cole­man Hawkins, Bud­dy Rich, Lester Young & Ella Fitzger­ald (1950)

Char­lie Park­er Plays with Dizzy Gille­spie in Only Footage Cap­tur­ing the “Bird” in True Live Per­for­mance

The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visu­al­ized on a Möbius Strip

Watch Ani­mat­ed Sheet Music for Miles Davis’ “So What,” Char­lie Parker’s “Con­fir­ma­tion” & Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.