Charlie Parker with Strings

What's engaging about this artist:

“Andrew Speight will carry the music’s torch into the next millennium.” 

   — Wynton Marsalis

  • Charlie Parker with Strings is the name of two albums, volumes I and II, recorded in 1949 and 1950 on Verve Records.  They were Parker’s most popular albums during his lifetime.  It was Parker’s favorite of his own recordings.

  • Australian Jazz Saxophonist, Andrew Speight and his rhythm section of San Francisco-based musicians realize much of both albums in their performances.  Andrew is a professor at San Francisco State University and has also led the jazz program at Michigan State University. 

  • Charlie Parker’s success with these albums was so innovative that he became the inspiration behind many jazz musicians recording their own albums with strings.  Clifford Brown with Strings in 1955; Focus by Stan Getz in 1961; Desmond Blue (1961-62), by Paul Desmond and Fusion! by Wes Montgomery (1963), are a few of the many.

  • Charlie Parker, (also known as Bird and Yardbird) and bandmate Dizzy Gillespie, invented the style of jazz known as bop or be-bop in 1945, which is characterized by fast tempos, complex chord progressions, and improvisational virtuosity. 

Sample Tracks


  • Program is designed for one rehearsal with Charlie Parker and Strings conductor or two rehearsals with resident conductor

  • The Performance is designed to be flexible in instrumentation and venue from small to large: jazz club, chamber music space, an outdoor event, or a concert hall


  • Charlie Parker and Strings as a stand-alone with their members: Alto Sax, Piano, Bass, Drums + string quartet and oboe OR with Violin I (Resident Orchestra providing Violin II, Violin III, Viola, and Cello). Resident orchestra may provide piano, bass, drums, with approval.

  • This Orchestration is also scored for chamber strings (3 violin I, 3 violin II, 3 violin III, 3 viola, 3 cello, 1 oboe) or augmented string chamber orchestra + oboe.

Running Time

  • 75 min with no intermission OR

  • Two 45 min halves with intermission 

  • There is flexibility for adjusting these times to fit program requirements with approval of Charlie Parker and Strings

All music is composed and orchestrated by Charlie Parker and Strings and will be provided, as part of the performance agreement, to the resident orchestra

“Lush, poetic, romantic as hell” 

   — All Music Guide