Charlie Parker, the Bird’s 100th birthday today meaning in part that WKCR, Columbia University’s volunteer radio station, is playing his music for one week entirely. And well does he deserve to be so celebrated. Born in Kansas City, KS in 1920, today, still 18 days remaining of 2020, he the king of bebop, died in New York at 995 Fifth Avenue according to Wikipedia. And according to Google Search, 995 is directly across the avenue from the Metropolitan Museum. How did he happen to be living or visiting that prestigious address? Nica de Koenigswarter lived in the suite at the then Stanhope Apartment Hotel, built in 1927 by the the 1st generation Italian-American architect Rosario Candela, and the Bird was visiting her? Was shacking up with Nica? She the baroness was a jazz patron, a writer and the daughter of the British Rothschild family.
She was at this moment an exciting beautiful rich 42 year-old woman on the thriving New York jazz scene promoting and hanging out with the likes of Parker, Thelonius Monk, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, John Coltrane and many more. She hosting jam sessions in her suite and inspired more than twenty jazz compositions, bailed musicians out of jail, and even acted as a booking agent. Monk, the equally revolutionary jazz pianist, died in her later New Jersey house in 1982. Once she and Monk were charged with marijuana possession in Delaware in 1958 and spent several days in jail and she taking responsibility for possession was sentenced to three years in prison. Charges dismissed after two year legal battle. She used her inherited wealth to pay for funerals and burial grounds of several jazz musician friends including Powell, Sonny Clark and Coleman Hawkins. She was known as the Rebellious Rothschild.
In 1955 on March 15th, the Bird was a vital handsome 34 year-old revolutionary jazz composer & saxophonist player. In 1951 his cabaret card was revoked with an arrest for heroin possession. According to the Internet website Biography:
“By the time he got his card back a year later, his reputation was so damaged that club owners still refused to let him play. Drug-addled and depressed, Parker tried to take his own life twice in 1954 by drinking iodine. Although he survived both attempts, his physical and mental health had greatly deteriorated. In 1955, Parker was visiting with his ‘friend’ Baroness Pannonica ‘Nica’ when he suffered an ulcer attack and refused to go to the hospital. On March 12th Parker died in her New York City apartment of lobar pneumonia and the devastating effects of long-term substance abuse.”
On another front, mine, I had my fourteenth #14 Rolfing session last Tuesday here in New York with my therapist Christina in the Lincoln Towers Apartment complex. Structural Integration. I can not say often enough that this upward trending therapeutic method is not just another fly-by-night treatment for the slings and arrows that the human body is heir to. And the human body is not just a magical assembly of brain, organs, nerves, blood vessels, muscles & skeleton, although that magic is a difficult and vigilant work to keep healthy and long living, even under the best circumstances of good genetics, exercise, nutrition and healthcare. Good parenting is also quite important in healthy development although the vitality of a human being can often blossom in spite of and even because of poor parenting, as well as poor health and challenging physical conditions.
I can not cite often enough that the founder Dr Ida Rolf, born in New York and died at age 82 in 1979, graduated with a Phd Biochemistry from Columbia University, packed thousands of hours, a decade in Rockefeller Institute Laboratory in biochemical research. Beginning in the 1940s, she formalized her treatment protocols for balance and breath to the complex of body and mind. Her father was a structural engineer and her husband electrical engineer, mindsets that surely supported her development beyond the established theories of the original modern founders of psychoanalytical theories and treatment methods of Freud, Jung and Reich and their many highly significant developmental psychologist followers building on those foundations.