Art & Culture

Dick Parsons: Bye corporate world, hello jazz club


The year was 1964 when former Time Warner Chairman and CEO Richard Parsons took his high school prom date to a New York jazz supper club for a performance by the legendary jazz artist Billy Taylor.

"It was my first adult experience ... we got to dress up, have a great meal, listen to jazz," Parsons said. "I fell in love with the whole 'gestalt,' and ever since then, I've wanted to have one of my own."

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Nearly 50 years later, Parsons, now retired as Citigroup chairman, turned his dream into reality as co-owner of Minton's Playhouse in Harlem.

Parsons took CNBC's "Power Lunch" on a guided tour through the birthplace of bebop, where Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday all launched their careers.

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"What I learned from Time Warner, Citigroup, is not terribly useful when you are trying to run a restaurant. This," Parsons said, "is a tough business."