I took my daughter with me to attend the annual graveside memorial for Charlie Parker today.
(I "liberated" the above pic from Plastic Sax's blog as penance for him not attending today)
It was a small service.
Two sax players, one singer and maybe a dozen observants.
I'm not a jazz aficionado. I used to be. I was used to go to Milton's back in the late 70's, I'd go to The Pointe and I've been to Jardine's a few times. But I eventually realized that the guttural, emotional draw of the blues spoke to me more than the sophisticated complexity of jazz.
So although I am very aware of who Charlie Parker was and how much he influenced modern jazz and his importance to Kansas City, I had no idea who all these people were. They all seemed to know each other.
I know this guy is Sonny Gibson because he tried to sell me a calendar and when I told him I didn't bring any cash he gave me his card so I could buy one later.
This guy got up and read some stuff that he had written about jazz and Charlie Parker going back 50 years. Seemed to be an important, intellectual guy.
This guy seemed to be the driving force, vowing that the Last Sunday in August at 1pm would forever be the time and date for this tribute.
Finally the scant musicians assembled gave their rendition of "Now's The Time", proclaimed "Bird lives!" and began to disperse.
GTO and I got in the jeep and prepared to leave. But every time I touched the keys to start the jeep, the other sax player started playing again. It was like I had a super power. Touch the keys, make the sax player perform! I felt it would be extremely rude to start my jeep while he was playing. It became quite comedic, really.
But he finally put the sax in the case and we were able to take our leave.
Someday, years from now, Charlie Parker will come up in a casual conversation and my daughter will be able to tell this story. That's why I took her.
I spent the next 4 hours driving GTO and her friend around to various area restaurants to apply for jobs.