Charles "Bird" Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920 - March 12, 1955)
was an American jazz saxophonist and composer, widely considered
one of the greatest and most influential jazz musicians. Early in
his career Parker acquired the nickname "Yardbird". The shortened
form "Bird" remained Parker's nickname for the rest of his life,
and inspired titles of many Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird
Suite" and "Ornithology."
Jazz historians consider Parker one of the greatest jazz
musicians, along with other pioneers such as Louis Armstrong and
Duke Ellington. Jazz critic Scott Yanow stated that "Parker was
arguably the greatest saxophonist of all time." Parker played a
leading role in the development of bebop, a form of jazz
characterized by fast tempos, virtuoso technique, and improvisation
based on harmonic structure. Parker's innovative approaches to
melody, rhythm, and harmony exercised enormous influence on his
contemporaries, and his music remains an inspiration for musicians
in jazz and other genres. Several of Parker's songs have become
standards, including "Billie's Bounce," "Anthropology,"
"Ornithology," and "Confirmation".