Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

126—How Charlie Parker’s Music Changed My Life

By Catholic Culture Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 04, 2022 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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Thomas Mirus goes solo in this episode to talk about how his relationship to music was completely transformed in his late teens, by exposure to the music of alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. Before he had used music to stimulate an emotional response, but soon he found himself listening for the sake of musical beauty itself, regardless of emotions or lack thereof. This quickly opened up a whole world of contemplation (musical and otherwise).

After discussing this deeper way of listening to music, Thomas explains how to follow the musical form of a jazz performance, and introduces the music of Charlie Parker and the new form of jazz he pioneered in the 1940s and early 50s, known as bebop.

If you want to listen more extensively to the jazz artists heard in this episode, check out these albums (no links because these things are always going in and out of print in different compilations):

Charlie Parker, listen to the complete Savoy and Dial master takes in whatever compilation you can find

Bud Powell, Jazz Giant

Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street

Sonny Rollins Plus Four

Music heard in this episode:

Blind Lemon Jefferson, “Rising High Water Blues” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsFNi0ZVzj4

Charlie Parker, “Perhaps” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LOOvq1sJvw

Charlie Parker, “Blues for Alice” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7USMqAH8qk

Charlie Parker, “Parker’s Mood” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wa7El-k3jQ

Charlie Parker, “Anthropology” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HkFBT4h190

Bud Powell, “So Sorry Please” from Jazz Giant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-IoDXFWr1c&list=PL9C4lRUjCkCt_oXThX81D3LhhRIUXVDqb&index=6

Clifford Brown and Max Roach, “Gertrude’s Bounce” from At Basin Street https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ7TdrmmDkc&list=PLUJ7V33M1wR3yDePSuvG8W1LmV3uuPg-S&index=8

Sonny Rollins, “Pent-Up House” from Plus Four https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INeqyCTvm4s&list=OLAK5uy_k6jR4wR5XEIyRL95Ov95VXhkYkAKQZIfw

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus.

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist living in New York City. He is Director of Podcasts for CatholicCulture.org, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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