Saxophone virtuoso Charlie "Bird" Parker began playing professionally in his early teens, became a heroin addict at 16, changed the course of music, and then died when only 34 years old. His friend Robert Reisner observed, "Parker, in the brief span of his life, crowded more living into it than any other human being." Like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane, he was a transitional composer and improviser who ushered in a new era of jazz by pioneering bebop and influenced subsequent generations of musicians. Meticulously researched and written, Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker tells the story of his life, music, and career. This new biography artfully weaves together firsthand accounts from those who knew him with new information about his life and career to create a compelling narrative portrait of a tragic genius. While other books about Parker have focused primarily on his music and recordings, this portrait reveals the troubled man behind the music, illustrating how his addictions and struggles with mental health affected his life and career. He was alternatively generous and miserly; a loving husband and father at home but an incorrigible philanderer on the road; and a chronic addict who lectured younger musicians about the dangers of drugs. Above all he was a musician, who overcame humiliation, disappointment, and a life-threatening car wreck to take wing as Bird, a brilliant improviser and composer. With in-depth research into previously overlooked sources and illustrated with several never-before-seen images, Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker corrects much of the misinformation and myth about one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century. (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Newcastle upon Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
Book — 1 online resource (108 pages)
This book, the result of a lifetime of listening and 30 plus years of research, focuses on the magic that is jazz, particularly the element of Tricksterism in the music. In some sense, anyone who is proficient at jazz has some element of Tricksterism, the ability to make something out of anything and to transform it in the process. The truly great musicians are Tricksters. I have concentrated on Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, and Dizzy Gillespie because these great musicians most displayed the genius and humor that the African Trickster is reputed to have. Each of these musicians took the material available to them, usually the pop songs of their day, and refashioned them into something better than they found. It is a kind of magic or alchemy. This sleight of hand is filled with surprises that cause physical reactions, often gasps, in their audiences. In a kind of reversal of expectations, the more the audience knows, the more it is surprised. I have listened to Louis Armstrong for about sixty years and, at least once in every performance, I am surprised. The more I listen to Armstrong, Parker or Gillespie, the more I am astounded by what they have done. I did not write about Sonny Rollins here, an oversight, but at 80 years-old-plus, Sonny amazes me at every performance I am lucky enough to see. These magician-Tricksters transform all they touch and turn even dross to gold. This book is a step toward understanding how they do it. (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Book — 1 online resource (x, 242 pages) : illustrations, portraits. Digital: data file.
Body and soul
The jumpin' blues
Now's the time
I remember you
The song is you
Charlie Parker was one of the influential musicians in jazz, and was the main architect of the jazz revolution of the 1940s. Addicted to drugs and alcohol, and with a tangled private life, he died young. This biography of Charlie Parker provides a discussion of performances and recordings, with discography, notes and bibliography. (source: Nielsen Book Data)