a 1947 photo of Charlie Parker playing the saxophone with a band

The harmonic development in bebop is often traced back to a transcendent moment experienced by Charlie Parker while performing “Cherokee” at Clark Monroe’s Uptown House, New York, in early 1942:

“I’d been getting bored with the stereotyped changes that were being used… and I kept thinking there’s bound to be something else. I could hear it sometimes. I couldn’t play it… I was working over ‘Cherokee,’ and, as I did, I found that by using the higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes, I could play the thing I’d been hearing. It came alive.” — Charlie Parker