Talk of Bebop and the name Charlie Parker comes to fore instantly. The celebrated jazz saxophonist is often credited with developing bebop- a unique music style that incorporated virtuoso techniques and fast tempos. Regarded as one of America’s most successful musical movements till date, Bebop’s founding fathers include among others, Charlie Parker. After being part of the music history in such an integral way, Charlie Parker returns to limelight again. A saxophone belonging to the iconic musician is up for grabs now. The piece which features as lot 1185 at Michaan’s auctions is estimated to fetch between $30,000-35,000.
Parker, on his musical sessions, was often accompanied by a jazz musician called Bill Hood. Bill was part of a group that included, aside from Parker, music legends like Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie and Marty Paich. After Billy’s death, the saxophone passed on to his daughter Jenifer. Mysteries have continued to shroud the instrument’s true ownership or so it appears. Jenifer, driven by an irresistible desire to uncover the saxophone’s Charlie Parker connections, discovered a spectacular tale underlining the instrument.
It so happened that one evening Parker turned up at a Portland Jazz club without his favorite instrument. Hood who has been working with Parker for quiet sometime now was seemingly surprised to seem him minus the saxophone. When asked about the reasons, Parker replied that he had had the saxophone pawned. The reply shook Hood who could not believe that Parker had actually bade goodbye to his priced possession. Parker, however, informed Hood that if he found the saxophone to be so important, he could just as well go and have it from the pawn shop. Hood did exactly as his friend suggested him to and the remaining part of the tale is a legend now.
Major details pertaining to the instrument’s true identity were verified by Jazz historian Bob Dietsche who incidentally appeared on a famous PBS Television show called “History’s Detectives”. It was found that all facts and figures surrounding the instrument, right from its serial number down to Jazz musician accounts corroborated with the actual timeline of events. The strongest link which confirmed the saxophone’s true ownership came from the pawn shop. Apparently, it is the only pawnshop in Portland which dates back to the 1950s. The owner of the shop, when contacted, seemed to recall every single occasion where Parker visited his store. Parker’s saxophone is slated to go under the hammer at Michaan’s auctions in Modern and Fine Furniture decorations on June 8, 2012.
Parker’s saxophone invariably reminds us of the priciest one in the category. Created in a workshop that has rolled out the choicest selection diamond and glass products over time, the silica sax is made from glass and features exquisite gold plating. Diamonds, which every pricey item in the world is virtually incomplete without, have not been given a miss either. However, more than the materials, the instrument would probably be remembered best for the artistic brilliance it represents. Handmade by skilled craftsmen, the saxophone was created over a span of 65 hours. The current value of the world’s most expensive saxophone is being estimated around $60,000. The magnificent piece debuted at the 2007 Millionaire Expo in Thailand.