Chan Parker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Chan Woods
Chan Parker.jpg
BornBeverly Dolores Berg[1]
29 June 1925
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died9 September 1999 (aged 74)
Étampes, France
SpouseCharlie Parker; Phil Woods

Chan Woods (born Beverly Dolores Berg, also known as Chan Richardson; 29 June 1925 – 9 September 1999[2]), well known as Chan Parker, was a common-law wife of jazz musician Charlie Parker who later married musician Phil Woods.

She was born in New York City, New York. She was a dancer and jazz enthusiast who in the 1940s and early 1950s was romantically connected with jazz musicians Johnny Bothwell and later Don Lanphere.[3]

She met Parker in the 1940s, but their friendship did not become romantic until years later. As it developed, their relationship had to surmount several obstacles, not the least of which were Charlie's frequently ungovernable drug and alcohol abuse and the simple fact of sharing love across a racial divide that the society of the era was hugely invested in maintaining.[citation needed]

She complained that taxis would not pick Parker up because of his race, and mentioned that the two of them often attracted stares because their relationship was interracial at a time when American society was still highly segregated. However, in the jazz world, which had long been integrated, it was not an issue. She indicated in her memoirs that Parker protected her, to a degree, from both these problems.[citation needed]

Later years and death[edit]

Their relationship was dealt a severe blow with the death of their daughter, Pree, a year and a week before Charlie Parker's own death.[4] Two years after Parker's death in 1955, Chan married saxophonist Phil Woods and relocated to France, where she spent much of the rest of her life. In her later years, she went on to write a memoir, My Life in E-Flat,[5] which discusses her life with Charlie Parker. It was published in 1999, the year of her death, which occurred in Étampes, France.

Just before her death, Chan was interviewed by Ken Burns, and she was seen posthumously in Burns' 2001 documentary, Jazz.


  1. ^ Chan Parker Archived 10 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Index record for Chan Woods Social Security Death Index". fold3 by Ancestry. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  3. ^ Siders, Harvey. "Don Lanphere", JazzTimes, March 2002; accessed 4 June 2015.
  4. ^ PBS interview
  5. ^ Parker, Chan. My Life in E-flat, University of South Carolina Press, 1999. ISBN 1-57003-245-9

External links[edit]