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New Album Narrates Charlie Parker’s Life in Song

Peyroux, Porter, Elling and others create vocal versions of Bird classics to tell his story

“The Passion of Charlie Parker”

On June 16, Impulse!/Verve will release The Passion of Charlie Parker, an album of iconic Parker songs transformed through the addition of lyrics to create a musical play that narrates Bird’s life. Produced by Larry Klein with lyrics by David Baerwald, the album features actor Jeffrey Wright in the role of Parker as narrator, with vocals provided by Wright, Kandace Springs, Gregory Porter, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Barbara Hannigan, Luciana Souza, Kurt Elling and Camille Bertault.

Featured musicians on the album include pianist Craig Taborn, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, guitarist Ben Monder, bassists Larry Grenadier and Scott Colley and drummers Mark Giuliana and Eric Harland.

In a press release sent to JazzTimes, producer Klein states, “With this album I’ve endeavored to do something new and different in an effort to illustrate who ‘Bird’ was as an archetypal character, and to draw attention to the huge impact that his work had on Jazz.”

To preorder the digital version (release date June 16) visit iTunes. CD and vinyl versions are due out June 30.


Track List

1. “Meet Charlie Parker” (“Ornithology”)—Chan‘s Overture
Featured vocalist Madeleine Peyroux

2. “The Epitaph of Charlie Parker” (“Visa”)—The Funeral
Featured vocalist Barbara Hannigan

3. “Yardbird Suite” (vocal version)—A Genius in His Youth
Featured vocalist Gregory Porter

4. “So Long” (“K.C. Blues”)—Exodus To New York City
Featured vocalist Jeffrey Wright

5. “Every Little Thing” (“Bloomdido”)—The Song of The Acolyte
Featured vocalist Luciana Souza


6. “Central Avenue” (Interlude)—A Dark Journey to Los Angeles

7. “Los Angeles” (“Moose the Mooche”)—The Dealer’s Song
Featured vocalist Kurt Elling

8. “Live My Love for You” (“My Little Suede Shoes”)—Chan’s Love Song
Featured vocalist Kandace Springs

9. “Fifty Dollars” (“Segment”)—Angels and Demons
Featured vocalist Jeffrey Wright

10. “The King of 52nd Street” (“Scrapple From the Apple”)—Chan’s Declaration
Featured vocalist Melody Gardot

11. “Salle Pleyel” (Interlude)—The Journey to Paris


12. “Apres Vous” (“Au Privave”)—The Apotheosis of Charlie Parker
Featured vocalist Camille Bertault

Originally Published