August 29, it’s Charlie Parker‘s birthday. We continue our jazz salutes.
Steve Silberman: Yeah, and that poem (Kerouac’s “Mexico City Blues” [not to mention, your own work]) was very much influenced by Charlie Parker who you knew, or saw.
Allen Ginsberg: I saw him a number of times, yeah. In those days – meaning the early ’50s and early ’60s – the musicians, though, they were barred from playing in the clubs under the cabaret licensing laws, which were quite fascist. Anybody who had been busted couldn’t play in a cabaret, and if you couldn’t play in a cabaret, you couldn’t make money in New York, simple as that. So they had to play wherever they could – in lofts, in scenes. There was a place on Sunday, The Open Door, some impresario – no alcohol. You’d contribute what you could, and Charlie Parker played. I used to go Saturday or Sunday afternoons..”