Live Bird is a one-man play written by playwright, director and saxophonist Jeff Robinson celebrating the life of jazz legend and alto saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker. It is set in a bar in Harlem, NY in 1954. Bird talks about his days in Kansas City, Missouri to imaginary characters, imitates Lester Young and plays some of his songs.
Live Bird made its debut at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston MA. in March of 1995. Jeff read just about everything written about Charlie Parker while he was researching for the play. He sent the finished script to jazz legends Max Roach and Jackie McLean, who both loved the play a gave him their blessings and encouraged him to work on a full production.
The debut production also featured commissioned paintings of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holliday and other jazz icons by world renowned NYC artist the late Martha Glinski.
Jeff has performed the play Off Broadway, The Charlie Parker Festival in NYC, The Clifford Brown Festival in Wilmington Delaware, The Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival in Lowell Massachusetts and the Gem Theater in Charlie Parker’s childhood neighborhood in Kansas City Missouri and other festivals and theaters around the USA. Jeff received a nomination for an Independent Reviewers of New England Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Charlie Parker in Live Bird.
Jeff had the pleasure of performing the play in Harlem NYC, and Doris Parker the late widow of Charlie Parker was in the audience. She loved his performance so much she befriended Robinson and gave him this quote:
“I knew Charlie as a man and not simply as a musical genius. Jeff portrays the Charlie I knew.”