This is mostly for sax players but not exclusively so. The Wall Street Journal will be running a story in August about Charlie Parker & Kansas City jazz. I have been privy to a few closing paragraphs of the draft article. The writer mentions the grave site event and calls it a 21-sax salute. Although I have specifically avoided calling this event a '21-sax salute' out of respect for Eddie Baker, I guess it isn't all that bad to use that phrase as long as we have at least 21 sax players there. I think this article plus some ongoing PR work that started a year ago will draw some highly visible press coverage of this year's celebration. We hope to attract live national TV coverage. The Wall Street Journal article will help this. I hope you can pencil in Sunday, August 26th in the afternoon to help celebrate our heritage and the future of KC jazz. If you have any ideas for making this an even better event, please email me," Hampton wrote in an email letter that was sent to some of the Kansas City area professional musicians.
The 21-Sax Salute" was initially started by the late Edward B. Eddie" Baker, President of the Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation and features a collective performance that usually always brings out many of the top saxophone artists based in the Kansas City area. However, the event is not exclusive to saxophonists. All instrumentalists, musician ability levels and the general public are invited to attend and participate in this tribute event. After Mr. Baker passed away, the event was lost until 2005, when the 21-Sax Salute" performance was a part of a BBC documentary filming at the Parker Gravesite. While the BBC producer and his film crew were in Kansas City, they took considerable time visiting with Chuck Haddix, the late Jay McShann, and interviewing others who knew and/or played with Parker. The director and crew also visited and filmed at the recently discovered home where Bird lived. Along with visiting and filming within the historic 18th and Vine Jazz District of Kansas City at the historic Mutual Musicians Foundation and the American Jazz Museum.
The 21-Sax Salute", held annually on a weekend close to Bird's birthday (August 29th), will be conducted on Sunday, August 26th at 12:30 p.m. in 2007. Alaadeen has been instrumental in the musical conduct of the event and Dean Hampton has been carrying on coordinating the logisitics involved with 21-Sax Salute" at the grave site of Charlie Parker. The Charlie Bird" Parker Gravesite is located in Blue Summit, Missouri - just outside Kansas City, Missouri. Located at 8604 East Truman Road in Jackson County. Musicians are asked to report at 12:30 pm. For a map with directions visit the website below.