Denver jazz radio station KUVO and iconic saxophonist-composer Charlie “Yardbird” Parker share the same birthday, August 29. This year, KUVO turns 35. Charlie Parker would have been 100.
On Friday, August 28 and Saturday August 29, KUVO hosts will celebrate the music of Charlie Parker with hourly selections performed or written by Parker. On Friday afternoon, host Rodney Franks will celebrate the legacy of Bird with quotes, recollections, and musical gems from his own personal library.
Since Charlie Parker died in 1955 at age 34, numerous tributes and salutes to Bird and his music have been produced and played on KUVO Jazz, most recently “Bird at 100” (2019, Smoke Sessions Records) featuring three alto saxophonists: Vincent Herring, Gary Bartz and Bobby Watson (also a Kansas City native). As part of the centennial observance, Bird’s longtime label Verve is issuing several vinyl reproductions from Parker’s Howard Theatre concerts in Washington D.C. (1952-53) and Clef Records’ 10-inch 78-rpm releases, and there’s a new Savoy CD box set (also available on vinyl). This year Parker’s estate is also releasing collectible album cover art, videos, bound sheet music and a graphic novel, “Chasin’ The Bird: Charlie Parker in California.” (Z2 Comics)