American Jazz Museum finds alternative way to celebrate jazz legend during pandemic

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The rise of COVID-19 cases continues to take a toll on public events.

Kansas City’s American Jazz Museum cancelled its celebration for saxophonist, Charlie Parker, but the museum found a safe way to celebrate the musician’s special day.

“He had such a legacy that it was important for us, even through a pandemic, that we acknowledge what he contributed to all of us,” Rashida Phillips, Executive Director of The American Jazz Museum, said.

The legendary Jazz musician, nicknamed “Bird”, was a prominent soloist and leading figure in the development of bebop.

“It was very troubling for us to think about cancelling it, but we recognized that the music lives on regardless,” Phillips said.


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Phillips said the museum was planning a homecoming celebration since Parker’s saxophone returned to the museum after a six-month loan from Disney Epcot.

Instead, a virtual saxophone salute was held to commemorate Parker’s birthday.

An in-person concert was in the works as well.

Instead, it was taped on Sunday and will air next month on the museum’s website.


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