For me, Charlie Parker’s music will always be connected with my relocation from Athens to Australia; the moment I was boarding on the plane, by an act of ironic coincidence, my MP3 player (which had been set to shuffle mode) decided to accentuate the event by playing Nows the Time.
Considering how much of my life I had devoted to listening and learning this music, and believing it was the greatest music in the world, I was truly shocked when I got to high school to realise that throughout my entire high school years there was hardly any mention of Jazz or the great men that contributed to this music.
‘…cued by Komunyakaa’s use of multiple voices, Evans assembled discrete bands for each piece, including no less than 11 different lead singers, plus Michael Edwards-Stevens reading some poems as spoken word with musical accompaniment.’
‘Several ideas guided my creative process in this project: to interpret Yusef Komunyakaa’s poetry, to pay tribute to Charlie Parker, and to do this in my own way in the context of the vibrant Sydney jazz scene of the 1990s.’ Evans says. ‘I’m very proud of this work and thrilled that, in some small way, it is a vehicle for the voices of some very fine Australian musicians, and their embodiment of Parker’s influence, to be heard internationally.’
Evans’ bold vision has allowed her to remain faithful to Komunyakaa’s poems and to Parker’s spirit, while doing so firmly with her own voice. Her finely-crafted composition has given the vocalists and soloists excellent vehicles within which they can pay their individual tributes to Parker, perhaps best summed up in the memorable ‘Testimony Coda’, with Bernie McGann’s last notes floating gently in the air.