Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? Freethought of the Day is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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There are 2 entries for this date: Xenophanes (Quote) and Charlie Parker
Xenophanes (Quote)

Xenophanes (Quote)

“The Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black, the Thracians that theirs have light blue eyes and red hair.”

—Xenophanes (5-6th century BCE), Greek philosopher who lived to 105, Fragment 15, 5th century BC, from James E. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

On this date in 1920, American jazz soloist, saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City. Parker was known by the nickname “Yardbird” or, alternatively, “Bird,” and many of his best-known compositions — “Ornithology,” “Bird Gets the Worm,” “Bird of Paradise” — contain references to this moniker. A virtuosic improviser, Parker’s work was crucial to the development of bebop, an uptempo and harmonic style of jazz. A student of classical music and an admirer of composer Igor Stravinsky, Parker was an advocate for jazz musicians of the Beat Generation.

Parker’s addiction to heroin, which he developed as a teenager after he was given morphine for an auto accident, plagued him all his life. Parker’s collaborations with pianist Thelonious Monk, drummer Kenny Clarke and guitarist Charlie Christian are often cited as major developments in the New York City jazz scene. Parker’s music displayed a mastery of the jazz technique known as “contrafact”, wherein the musician imposes his or her own original melodies over existing jazz standards. Upon his death in 1955, Parker’s body was flown back to Missouri, according to his mother’s wishes. Parker was given a Christian funeral, which Parker’s long-term partner Chan Berg lamented due to Parker’s lifelong atheism. D. 1955

“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.”

—Charlie Parker in Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (1977)

Compiled by Paul Epland

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