The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2013 kicks off on Friday, Aug. 23 at Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheatre at 7:00 p.m. The legendary tenor saxophone master, Jimmy Heath leads his big band in concert premièring a newly updated version of the 2004 commissioned work, “Bird Is the Word,” Charlie Parker’s historic composition. Heath has long been recognized as a brilliant saxophonist, magnificent composer and arranger. He has performed with almost all of the greats of the last 50 years, including Charlie Parker himself, Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Wynton Marsalis. He has written more than 125 compositions and was the recipient of the NEA Jazz Master Award in 2003.
On Saturday, Aug. 24 Kenny Garret leads the line up, again at Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheatre Show time is 3:00 p.m. Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. Included in the afternoon’s program will be Cecile McLorin Salvant. She won the coveted Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010. Ms Salvant focuses on theatrical portrayal of Jazz standard and composes music and lyrics, which she also sings in French, her native language as well as Spanish. On the bill is also Kim Thompson, who has played locally in many of New York’s prestigious Jazz clubs and well as being a part of Beyonce’s all female band. In 2010, Thompson released her debut album, “Like Clockwork,” which features 33 songs written and produced by the drummer herself. Rounding out the program is alto saxophonist, Jaleel Shaw. In 2005, Shaw joined the world-renowned drummer, Roy Haynes’ Quartet and recorded the Grammy nominated CD, “Whereas,” with the group. Shaw received two ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards and in March 2013, Shaw released his newest album, “The Soundtrack of Things to Come.”
On Sunday, Aug. 25 the festival returns to its original home, Tomkins Square Park. Show time is 3:00 p.m. The headliner for this last day of the festival is alto saxophonist, Lee Konitz, who has enjoyed one of the most creative and prolific careers in modern jazz. Konitz was awarded the NEA Jazz Master Award in 2009, voted Alto Saxophonist of the Year by Downbeat Magazine’s Critics Poll in 2010, and will also be recognized with the Germany Jazz Price Award the year, 2013. Lee Konitz is 85 years old and still selling out concerts all around the world. Sheila Jordan, singer and songwriter joins the bill. Jordan’s first great influence and mentor was Charlie Parker. Most of her influences have been instrumentalist rather than singers. In 2012, Sheila Jordan was honored with the NEA Jazz Masters Award. She has received several other honors, including the 2008 Mary Lou Williams Award for a Lifetime of Service to Jazz. Added to the list of extremely talented musicians, trumpeter, Christian Scott joins the fray. Scott launched his music career at a very young age and has positioned himself as one of the great innovators of his generation.