Parker sax bids top $300,000
From correspondents in New York
LEGENDARY jazz virtuoso Charlie Parker's alto saxophone has sold for nearly $US262,000 ($331,980) at an auction of jazz memorabilia in New York.
The 430 lots on offer at the sale included instruments, clothing and musical scores from Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, John Coltrane and Stan Getz.
Along with the saxophones, trumpets and drum sets, there was a lot of bidder interest in the hand-written items, including a profanity-laced letter from Armstrong to his agent which sold for $US29,500 ($37,380).
Another highlight was the original musical arrangement for Coltrane's classic song, A Love Supreme, written by the musician himself in pencil and blue ink.
The three sheets of manuscript that made up the lot were the target of some aggressive bidding and finally sold for $US129,500 ($164,000).
"Today is kind of sacred," said T.S. Monk, who attended the auction as the son of jazz great Thelonious Monk and an award-winning musician in his own right.
"They are all so alive," Monk said of the musicians represented at the sale. "They're alive in our hearts, they're alive in our collective souls.
"Sometimes their message was muted by racism, other times by politics and even artistic snobbery.
"But their music has flourished. It's grown and profoundly influenced all those that it has touched."
Unusually for such a high-profile collection, the auction house organising the sale, Guernsey's, had provided no price estimates, and the vast majority of lots had no reserve price attached.
However, a tenor saxophone that belonged to John Coltrane was withdrawn after it failed to make $US500,000 ($633,500).