18th & Vine
After Charlie’s parents separated in 1930, he and his mother Addie moved to a two-story brick house at 1516 Olive Street, just blocks away from 18th and Vine. Addie worked nights, and after she left for work, Charlie began his nightly rounds of the night clubs dotting 12th and 18th streets.
Established in 1997, the American Jazz Museum features educational programming, a jazz club called the Blue Room, and exhibits showcasing the life and music of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker. The exhibit on Parker that features his Grafton Sax celebrates his life and career.
Crispus Attucks School, named after an African American who was the first person killed in the American Revolution, was constructed in 1905. A second wing was added in 1922 to better serve the growing population at 18th and Vine. Over the years, the school remained central to the 18th and Vine community.
Charlie Parker has long been celebrated by artists, writers, and musicians. Located in the heart of 18th and Vine near the American Jazz Museum, the 10’ bronze sculpture by Robert Graham celebrates the enduring legacy of Charlie Parker. Charlie’s daughter Kim and his third wife Doris attended the 1999 dedication of the statue, which was funded by the Jules and Doris Stein and Oppenheimer Brothers Foundations.
Gregarious and comely, Lucille Webb held court in her namesake club; greeting and schmoozing patrons while her husband S. D. ran the kitchen. In April 1938, Charlie joined alto saxophonist Buster Smith’s band for a regular engagement at Lucille’s. Onstage, Smith mentored young Charlie, teaching him how to go in and out of key and play double time. An eager student, Charlie could soon improve on anything that Smith played. Broadcasts from Lucille’s by KXBY introduced Charlie to listeners across the Midwest.
Established in 1917 by a small group of musicians and educators, Colored Musicians Local Number 627 grew to include 347 members by 1930. Having outgrown their headquarters, union members raised money and bought the building at 1823 Highland. Charlie joined Local 627 in October 1935 for an engagement with George E. Lee at Paseo Hall. Charlie remained a member until 1945, when he was suspended for nonpayment of dues, and transferred to the national union
Located near the northwest corner of 19th and Vine, Ol’ Kentuck served up jazz along with spicy barbecue. In June 1940, Charlie first met Dizzy Gillespie in front of the Ol’ Kentuck. Dizzy was in town playing with the Cab Calloway Band at Fairyland Park. Trumpeter Bernard “Buddy Anderson” introduced Charlie to Dizzy and they walked around the corner to Musician’s Local 627, where they had a musical meeting of the minds. This get-together marked the birth of bebop.