Bird to Chan

Bird to Chan (2001)

with financial support of the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst

The piece is based on five telegrams sent by the American jazz-saxophonist Charlie Parker (‘Bird’, 1920-1955) to his wife Chan Richardson on hearing of their daughter Pree’s death on the 6th of March 1954.
They show that, because of excessive use of drugs, his decline was already in an advanced phase. Nevertheless, Parker’s sorrow and despair are poignantly real.



4.11 am: My darling our daughter’s death surprised me more than it did you don’t fulfill funeral proceedings until I get there I shall be the first one to walk into our chapel forgive me for not being there with you while you were at the hospital yours most sincerely your husband Charlie Parker

4.13 am: My darling for God’s sake hold on to yourself
               Chas Parker

4.15 am: Chan, help
               Charlie Parker

7.58 am:  My daughter is dead. I know it. I will be there as quick as I can. My name  is Bird. It is very nice to be out here. People have been very nice to me out here. I am coming in right away take it easy. Let me be the first one to approach you. I am your husband. Sincerely, Charlie Parker

4.08 am: My darling , I just wanted to let you know regardless of the things we have to experience in life I want you to know that I am in the ground now I would shoot myself for you if I had a gun but I dont have one tell my wife the most horrible thing in the world is silence and am experiencing same. Im tired and going to sleep.
Charles Parker

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