Charlie Parker Festival @ Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem
Part of the New York Summer Stage, the annual Charlie Parker festival celebrated Bird’s 90. birthday this year (Aug 29th). I went to hear the concerts on Saturday @ Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem. I really liked the all-star tribute band MC Raydar Ellis’s Revive Da Live band with Ben Williams on bass (sounded really great), Justin Brown on drums, Jaleel Shaw on alto, Marcus Strickland on tenor, Marc Cary on keyboard, Corey King on trombone, Ingmar Thomas on trumpet.
I also heard J.D Allen’s group & Jason Moran’s Bandwagon, which was great because one of my very favorite drummers Nasheet Waits was playing. But I didn’t understand the band leading concept of using old Billie Holiday and Eddie Jefferson tracks and playing along with them. It didn’t sound like a live concert at that point, it felt like the band is having a break.
And last but not least, they had McCoy Tyner on solo piano. He played some really nice (mostly original) tunes – Fly With the Wind (he actually played it twice), I Should Care, Blues on the Corner, African Village. A lot of people are saying how he doesn’t have the facility on the piano that he used to, but I think he still sounds totally extraordinary. At 86. And he is actually one of the very few of the real giants who’s still playing, so it’so feels really special to hear him live.
It was such a lovely day at the Marcus Garvey park and the weather was just perfect. The only REALLY annoying thing was how the folks at the Drummer’s Circle (not far from the main stage!) were drumming the whole time through the event. How come there are people that wouldn’t have courtesy to such a lovely event and great musicians, not to mention that on the big stage there were drummers like Nasheet Waits, Rudy Royston, Justin Brown playing? The sound in general was a bit too silent for the whole lawn area, and for that reason the drumming near by was especially painful for the interested listener. But despite all that, a really nice day in Harlem, was worth going!