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Remembering Bird

Jazz lovers will be happy to know that the Charlie Parker Jazz festival takes place this weekend!

Parker lived in Alphabet City, on the Lower East Side, during the 50s. The actual block he lived on, Avenue B between 7th and 10th Streets–right alongside of Tompkins Square Park–was renamed Charlier Parker Place in 1992. Ever since 1993, the jazz festival, which celebrates Bird’s birthday, is an annual event in the park and in other locations around the city.

This year’s festival highlights include a show on Saturday uptown in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, in the same neighborhood as Minton’s, the legendary jazz club where Parker and other greats sowed the seeds of the beginnings of be-bop. The show features the Wallace Roney Orchestra, guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke, pianist Kris Bowers and saxophonist Melissa Aldana, with a guest turn by soul singer Chris Turner.

Sunday’s show in Tompkins Square Park features incredible pianist Kenny Barron, drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, saxophonist Craig Handy and vocalist Brianna Thomas.

That’s a lot of talent packed into two days. And did I mention that the entire festival is free? The magic word, F-R-E-E?

For info and complete schedule, click here.

Image via Scarlatti 2004/Flickr