Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

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”

Charlie Parker, “Perhaps”

Charlie Parker, “Blues for Alice”

Charlie Parker, “Parker’s Mood”

Charlie Parker, “Anthropology”

Bud Powell, “So Sorry Please” from Jazz Giant

Clifford Brown and Max Roach, “Gertrude’s Bounce” from At Basin Street

Sonny Rollins, “Pent-Up House” from Plus Four

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.

Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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