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Charlie Parker had once kicked out from a jam session

In 1937, Charlie Parker was 17 years old. He was a young, inspired musician who just dropped out of high school, in Kansas City. He had started playing the baritone and alto saxophone at the age of 13. Teenage Parker decided to join a jam session in Reno Club.

Parker started good, with his new saxophone. He started off with chords from I Got Rhythm (which will be a popular contrafact song in the future) and improvised. After he had the scent that the crowd like what he was doing, he decided to introduce the style that he was currently working on. He improvised fluently on a new key and immediately understood that the crowd was surprised, as well as the musicians.

The musicians didn’t seem to like his unusual style. However, high school dropout Parker couldn’t manage to keep his tune. He lost the beat. A musician from the rhythm section, one of the most influential drummers in Count Basie’s orchestra, Jo Jones, angrily threw his cymbal towards him. Parker, then, straightened himself up and left the club running and crying. Years later, Bird explained why his style was perceived “much dreaded” by his colleagues: because his style was “different than others”!

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