Yardbird Suite
Charlie Parker Lyrics

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Charlie Parker - Alto Saxophone
Miles Davis - Trumpet
Lucky Thompson - Tenor Saxophone
Arvin Garrison - Guitar
Dodo Marmarosa - Piano
Vic McMillan - Bass
Roy Porter - Drums

Overall Meaning

The opening line of "Yardbird Suite" by Charlie Parker reads "What's the word? Hummingbird," which is a play on words with the nickname of the title character, Parker himself, and his famous bebop style that was dubbed "Bird." Throughout the lyrics, Parker's imaginative wordplay continues as he improvises lines that showcase his virtuosic instrumental skills on the alto saxophone. The melody of the song is fast-paced and filled with syncopated rhythms that mirror the complex and frenetic nature of bebop music.

In the context of the song, Parker creates a musical dialogue between himself and the other members of the band, including Miles Davis on trumpet and Lucky Thompson on tenor saxophone. The musicians build upon each other's improvisations to create a collaborative and electrifying sound that is quintessential bebop. The song was composed by Parker in 1946 and has since become a jazz standard that is widely regarded as one of the best examples of bebop music.

Line by Line Meaning

With your tiny feet / You don't even need / Those shoes on your feet / On the sunny side of the street
You possess a certain grace in the way you carry yourself. Your small feet are so light and delicate that they hardly need shoes. You radiate joy and positivity, even when things are going tough.

You just know / That the world is a wonderful place / As you stroll, swayin' to the cadence
You possess a sense of optimism, and you know that the world has much to offer if one takes the time to appreciate it. As you walk, you sway to the rhythm of life, comforted by the knowledge that everything is as it should be.

Breezing through / Amidst the hustle and bustle / You appear so serene / Just like a little bird
Even in the midst of chaos and commotion, you remain calm and collected. You seem so tranquil, like a bird that flits about unencumbered while everything else carries on around it.

Yardbird Suite / I'm rehearsing a treat / Simply, because I think / You're oh so sweet
I am preparing a special song just for you. The reason for this is simple: I find you incredibly sweet and wonderful, and I want to express that through music.

So inspiring / The way that you carry yourself / Through thick and thin / With such poise and grace
You are a source of inspiration to others, because of the way you conduct yourself no matter what challenges come your way. You possess a sense of elegance and control that is admirable to witness.

Your lovely smile / So warm and inviting / Brightens up the darkest day
Your smile is a thing of beauty. It exudes warmth and kindness, and it never fails to brighten the mood of those around you. Indeed, your smile is like a ray of sunshine on the bleakest day.

Yardbird Suite / It's really quite a treat / To play my saxophone / For someone so sweet
Playing my saxophone for you is a real pleasure. Your sweetness and grace are truly amazing to behold, and they inspire me to create beautiful music in your honor.


Contributed by Ellie O. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:


It's hard to learn
How tears can burn one's heart
But that's a thing that I found out
Too late I guess, cause I'm in a mess
My faith has gone
Why lead me on this way?
I thought there'd be no price on love
But I had to pay.
If I could perform one miracle
I'd revive your thoughts of me
Yet I know that it's hopeless
You could never really care.
That's why I despair!
I'll go along hoping
Someday you'll learn
The flame in my heart, dear,
Forever will burn!

All comments from YouTube:


Just imagine the solos that Bird played that were never recorded. Thousands of solos played in clubs gone forever.


That's part of the jazz life




I was thinking about that, too. If only there was some of his all nite jam sessions somewhere. After the gig, maybe in the Village or up in Harlem, where Bird and his cohorts just let it all hang out. Bop of the world. Still, I'm grateful to what we do have, it's priceless and amazing! 😎


@Quang-Long Dinh The same can be said of Mozart, Bach, Coltrane and pretty much every composer/musician who improvised, or even only play, imagine how many different interpretations of Goldberg variations by Glenn Gould are lost forever. That's part of music, things are played once and then gone forever. They're not lost, people heard them and it made music evolve, other musicians heard bird playing in clubs and his influence has spread from that too.


U wish u were tht good bud

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The piano player has the prefect touch and really makes this tune even better.


Dodo Marmarosa! Almost forgotten legend of Bebop piano. Another great pianist from Pittsburgh!


such a lightness to their sound, it’s wonderful


You see when Charlie Parker is improvising it is like Shakespeare talking on a sax......totally articulate pure poetry....every articulation says something specific that relates precisely to the whole in a poetic language that is absolutely communicative...full of expression yet never 'meaningless blather'.... always exactly 'on point' .... pure original total communication in every NOTE!

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