A Little Bird, A Little Philosophizing
Glad to see there is still some collector interest in Charlie Parker. I had heard this theory, and once discussed it here, that there’s a window of about 50 years for interest in a performer/musician and after that period the people who actually could remember him are no longer around and the influence that he or she engendered, no matter how profound, would eventually fade or be forgotten in the afterglow of artists who succeeded them. This seemed particularly apt in the case of popular artists — a Bing Crosby or Fred Astaire, for example — but it also seems to have impacted the jazz world as well. You don’t get the sense that collectors and even aficionados today have the same esteem for, say, Duke Ellington or Count Basie or even Lester Young that collectors and aficionados had 20 years ago. I think about this a lot and wonder, not just about my collectible records (and their value), but about how history will treat earlier artists and whether their contributions will be remembered in the perspective of their era and the eras that came subsequent to their contributions. Artists like, say, Johnny Hodges or Art Tatum or even Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz (and no, I’m not just focusing on the Verve label, although those provide good examples). This came to mind because
I was keeping on eye on this record on eBay: Charlie Parker, Dial 202. It struck me that there are few of the Bird records that have the same cachet as collectibles, and perhaps even as music, as they did when I started getting into jazz 4o or so years ago. At that time, Bird was, well, Bird, and there was nobody more important. Finding an original Bird Savoy or an original Bird Mercury or Clef was a nice score. Not so much anymore. Anyway, this particular record, a 10-incher, has been bid up to more than $150, so somewhere there is still strong interest, which, to me, is a good thing.