Fumi Tomita Honors Charlie Parker with “Celebrating Bird”
This year marks the 100th anniversary of bebop pioneer Charlie Parker’s birth. His legacy cannot be understated, and as such bassist Fumi Tomita has released a new album to honor the jazz icon.
Celebrating Bird: A Tribute to Charlie Parker is a collection of contrafacts – or new melodies written over familiar chord changes – from the saxophonist’s repertoire. “I’ve always loved Charlie Parker’s music,” Tomita says. “It’s a style rooted in a certain language but very open to other styles.”
The bassist is joined by his quartet, which is filled out by saxophonist David Detweiler, pianist Art Hirahara, and drummer Jimmy MacBride. Check out Tomita and Detweiler doubling the melody on “Oceanology”, which is based on Parker’s blues changes in the key of C:
As with Tomita’s 2019 album The Elephant Vanishes: Jazz Interpretations of the Short Stories of Haruki Murakami, Celebrating Bird is also a point of self-reflection and examination of identity.
“Conceived before the pandemic, this tribute record to Charlie Parker will, I hope, still be relevant in the new normal with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Tomita explains. “The sweeping changes for social justice for African Americans that have dominated the summer of 2020 were a dream that Parker, living during the pre-Civil Rights era, was denied. Yet he still led a musical revolution known as bebop that contributed to the great music known as Jazz. His music can be viewed as a form of protest during an era when African Americans could not voice their opposition to racial discrimination, segregation, or lynchings. During his centennial year, I hope that Charlie Parker will continue to be remembered and that his music will resonate with listeners during an age of protest.”
Celebrating Bird: A Tribute to Charlie Parker Track List:
- Bird’s Yard
- Like Sigmund
- Waltz of the Moon
- Alice Changes
- Capital Circle
- Birds Dream