[JPL] Kerouac and Bird

Lenny Mazel jazz at kcme.org
Mon Mar 12 00:52:13 EDT 2007

As a former professional juggler and jazz fan, I have always harbored a
little guilt concerning Bird's death.  He was watching the Tommy Dorsey
show, a music/variety program, and was laughing at a comedy/juggling act
involving cigar boxes (props that I used to great advantage for many years,
including my appearance on The Gong Show).  This according to the account of
his death by the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswater, in whose apartment he
died.  Clint Eastwood depicted the event in his movie Bird, and I believe
had the actual footage on the TV that Bird (Forest Whitaker) was watching.
I'll have to double check, but I believe in Ken Burns' jazz the event was
also depicted, but with a different juggling act randomly chosen from old
television footage.

P.S.  Bird died in the Baroness' home in NYC, Monk (who composed the jazz
standard Pannonica) died in her home in New Jersey.  As I remember reading
somewhere, Frank Morgan, upon his release from incarceration of many years
and subsequent comeback, played NY for the first time and was told that the
Baroness was in the audience.  He said he wouldn't mind meeting her, but no
way was he going to go to her house.  

Lenny Mazel
Jazz Director
1921 N Weber St
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

-----Original Message-----

Lest we forget
Jack Kerouac was born on this date, March 12, 1922
Charlie Parker died on this date, March 12, 1955.
He "died laughing at a juggler on TV" to quote Kerouac's poem titled,
"Charlie Parker"

Steve Schwartz

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