Meet the Past: Charlie Parker
Production for the Meet the Past television series continues in August with two programs taped before a live audience at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The series will air in prime-time on KCPT (channel 19) during the 2009-10 season.
Meet the Past features Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviewing prominent historical figures (as portrayed by local actors and veteran Chautauqua performers) with Kansas City-area connections.
Major funding for Meet the Past has been provided by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Admission to all Meet the Past programs is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes each event. Click here or call 816.701.3407 to RSVP. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th and Baltimore.
On Tuesday, August 25, at 6:30 p.m., Walter Coppage portrays Charlie Parker, the Kansas City-born musician who became one of the most well-known jazz artists in America.
Born August 19, 1920, in Kansas City, Kansas, Parker’s innovative approach to melody, rhythm, and harmony made him one of the most influential jazz musicians of his time. He is perhaps best known for his role in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by complex melodies and chord progressions.
Several of Parker’s songs remain among the most popular jazz titles in America today, including Billie’s Bounce, Anthropology, Ornithology and Confirmation. While best known for his jazz, Parker was also an accomplished blues performer.
Coppage, most recognized as the national television spokesman for Children International, got his start as an actor at the Missouri Repertory Theatre while attending the University of Missouri–Kansas City. At UMKC, he teamed with another student to form a comedy duo that performed at clubs and universities in 35 states. Coppage also opened for such legendary artists as Ray Charles, Tim Weissberg, and Otis Day and the Knights. His many stage roles have ranged from beloved classics to cutting-edge modern works. This summer he has been in Washington, D.C., performing in Radio Golf at the Studio Theatre.
This event is co-sponsored by the American Jazz Museum.