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    Charlie "Bird" Parker 1950 Pittsburgh, PA Concert Handbill. An authentic, vintage paper flyer from Pittsburgh, PA for jazz legend and saxophone virtuoso Charlie Parker at the famous Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh, PA on Wednesday, May 3, 1950. "Hear!... The Phenomenal King of the Alto Sax: Charlie Parker & His Orchestra," the handbill proclaims. Yardbird (Parker's nickname, eventually shortened to just Bird) is sandwiched in between "The Miracle of the Piano," George Shearing & his Quintet, and the "World's Foremost Bassist, Slam Stewart & his All-Stars."

    Finding any original Charlie Parker concert piece is almost impossible. He didn't do conventional touring, so he's turned up on a grand total of about 2-3 different concert posters, ever, and not many more handbills. They just don't surface. The man about whose life Clint Eastwood made a 1988 motion picture, Bird, just doesn't have any concert memorabilia out there for collectors to chase.

    Bird was one of the originators of the bebop jazz style, a postwar phenomenon that became wildly popular among jazz aficionados. The progressive bebop jazz movement was raging in full glory in 1950, as musicians like Parker and Dizzy Gillespie dazzled audiences with super-fast tempos and complex chord progressions.

    On top of that, 1950 was the year Mercury Records released two Bird albums, both called Charlie Parker with Strings, the best-selling albums of his career during his lifetime. This Pittsburgh concert took place seven months after the recording of the first one, and two months before the recording of the second. The two LPs were eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. So do you think Bird was on fire the year of this handbill?

    This Syria Mosque gig also fell in between two other noteworthy events: the naming of the New York jazz nightclub Birdland in his honor (1949), and the debut of the jazz classic "Lullaby of Birdland" honoring Parker and the club (1953). The latter tune was written by George Shearing - that's right, the same guy who's also on this concert flyer.

    Unfortunately, Bird had less than three years to live after this show. He passed away at age 34, much too young, in New York City.

    Measures 6" x 9" and grades to Very Good Plus condition with three corners missing, three strips of tape on verso, light creasing, and a small spot of chipping in the upper left corner area. COA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2021
    16th-18th Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 215

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