Bird Lives

Album cover art for upc 614427993427
Catalog: ACT9934-2

McPherson, Charles; Schöpfer, Klaus-Peter; Maile, Andy; Auer, Martin; SWR Big Band; Beasley, John; Erlewein, Matthias; SWR Big Band and Strings; Godfroid, Marc; Lovano, Joe; Zenon, Miguel; Badila, Decebal; Graf, Klaus; Lindgren, Magnus; Potter, Chris; Kühn, Axel; Fuller, Tia; Bertault, Camille

2020 wasn’t just Beethoven’s year, it was also the centenary of Charlie Parker’s birth. And if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, the world would have seen notices of all kinds of major concerts to celebrate the legacy of Bird (as Charlie Parker was known), one of the giants of jazz; one of the great musical innovators of the 20th century; the co-inventor of bebop; and probably the most important and influential saxophonist in jazz. The "Bird Lives" music on this new album was to have been recorded and premiered by the SWR Big Band a couple of months before Charlie Parker’s 100th anniversary, which was on August 29, 2020. The world premiere was scheduled at the iconic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles - which seats 18,000 people - with co-arranger and conductor, John Beasley and his six-time GRAMMY-award nominated MONK’estra Big Band with a string section during the week leading up to Bird’s centenary. Both of those dates were lost to Covid, but the recording, a commission from the SWR Big Band, and with a stellar roster of guest artists, was able to develop at a much more measured pace. When safety rules permitted, the musicians met to record in Stuttgart mid November 2020. The extra time enabled the collaborative partnership of Swedish saxophonist Magnus Lindgren and American pianist John Beasley as co-arrangers to imagine further and dive deeper. Lindgren and Beasley met at the Jakarta Jazz Festival in Indonesia 5 years ago. That sparked an invitation to have Sweden’s Blue House Big Band to play MONK’estra’s music. A bond was formed because of the mutual admiration for each other’s unique style of arranging. Both musicians were keen to find a project to work seamlessly together in the unusual guise of co-arrangers.

Price: $27.98