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Saturday, October 25, 2014

21 Sax Salute

Feels like ancient history, it's been over six weeks since I took these pictures.

The Charlie Parker 21 Sax Salute was a New Orleans style funeral for Bird on (approximately) his birthday. He'd be 94 this year, a ripe old age for a jazz musician to be sure.

Parker is one of those catalytic innovators, I guess they come along every century or two. What Mozart was to Vienna's opera houses, Parker was to 52nd Street. And like Mozart, he didn't live long.

It was a frustrating event to try and photograph. Parker is buried in Lincoln Cemetery and the place wasn't really set up with events in mind, it's just rows of buried corpses.

It was mid-day to boot, so the light was harsh, the sun bearing straight down and casting everyone's faces into shadow. The trees provided some relief from that, but it was still rough shooting.

I got a few shots I wasn't totally ashamed of, and got a partial of what would have been the hero shot for sure. A thoroughly decorated bottle of booze was being passed around among the musicians, and as they were getting ready to march off, one upended the bottle over the grave. I was twenty feet away or so, caught by surprise with a flower arrangement in the way. If I could have been about where the flowers were, I would have gotten a beautiful shot.

After, we went to the Blue Room for Stroud's and more music.

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