Sunday, 13 October 2013



At the beginning of modern jazz, as it became defined by bebop, was Bird. The first two records I bought as a youngster were by Bird (alto saxophonist Charlie Parker). Those two EPs (extended playing vinyl discs) were followed by a 78rpm of See You Later Alligator by Bill Haley and his Comets with Paper Boy on the B side. Sadly, the brittle 78rpm did not survive, but I still have the treasured EPs which I continue to play.

My portrait of Bird (whom fellow jazz aficionados of the period within my circle also referred to as Chas P), is inspired by the first saxophonist to impress me. Others followed, but Bird remains indelibly stamped on my musical memory and remains as potent as ever. If you love the music, it is impossible not to love Bird.

My first horn was an alto which I played briefly with a band around the age of fourteen before quickly moving onto a tenor saxophone which I felt more comfortable with for the next half a century. Then I evolved into a baritone and bass saxophone player, but I still play alto and, of course, tenor saxophone as required.

I kept the portrait simple and sincere, concentrating on those elements personal to myself and the period. Above is my first impression and below is a more worked version which I personally prefer out of the two:

Bird is now on permanent display in the small gallery which exhibits pictures relative to the period, expressionistic sensibility and mood:


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