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Reflections by the Bird (June 1953)

Charlie Parker, interviewed by WHDH (Boston) radio announcer John McLellan, June 13, 1953

JM: "Whom do you feel were, beside yourself, the important persons who were dissatisfied with music as it was and started to experiment?"

CP: "Let me make a correction. It was not that we were dissatisfied. It was just that another conception came along and this was the way we thought it should go. Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Christian, Bud Powell, Don Byas, Ben Webster, myself."

JM: "Lots of musicians from the swing era are finding it difficult to work because the audiences are violently split between Dixieland and Cool. There seems to be no room for these middle-of-the-road musicians."

CP: "I beg to differ. There is always room for musicians. There is no such thing as the middle-of-the-road. It's either one thing or the other – either good music or otherwise. It doesn't matter which idiom it's in. Call it swing, bebop or Dixieland. If it's good music, it will be heard."

JM: "I noticed that you play "Anthropology" and "52nd Street Theme", but they were written a long time ago. What is to take their place and be the basis for your future?"

CP: "It's hard to say. A man's ideas change as he grows older. Most people don't realise that most of what they hear come out of a man's horn – they are just experiences. It may be the beauty of the weather. A nice look of a mountain. A nice breath of fresh air. You can never tell what you'll be thinking tomorrow. But I can definitely say that music won't stop. It will continue to go forward."


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