Charlie “Bird” Parker, the legendary jazz saxophonist and bebop giant, famously said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn”. Assuming that’s true, I could play a hell of a song right now about modeling for art classes. I have no clue what a song like that would sound like, but it would be authentic that’s for sure! Indeed, I have lived it.
Whew, I’m tired. I worked all week, Saturday and Sunday, and today. Now I’m home and ready to do absolutely nothing but relax. In 1946, Bird suffered a nervous breakdown in a hotel in Los Angeles. He had been drinking heavily, caused a disturbance in the hotel lobby, and accidentally set his mattress on fire, allegedly caused by an errant cigarette. Parker was arrested and committed to Camarillo State Mental Hospital where he received six months of treatment for heroin and alcohol abuse. The stay at Camarillo proved to be a successful one. Bird got clean and sober, played with the hospital band, slept, relaxed, and even tended to the vegetable garden on the facility grounds which he enjoyed a great deal.
Parker knew that his confinement at Camarillo was one of the best things to happen to him. He left the hospital with a feeling of renewal, rejuvenation, and a new lease on life. Before he returned to New York, Parker wrote a song in honor of his recovery called Relaxin’ at Camarillo. And why not? Bird himself had “lived it”, so it came out of his horn. And what a surprisingly upbeat, optimistic little tune it is. Charlie Parker may be one of the few addicts in history to have actually LIKED rehab! This is Music Monday:
Fortunately, my need for relaxation is not due to addiction or substance abuse. Mine is just a plain old fatigue and a sore body. Still, listening to Bird’s version will do just fine. Catch you later, friends 🙂