Within days of Charlie "Bird" Parker's death at the age of
thirty-four, a scrawled legend began appearing on walls around New
York City: Bird Lives. Gone was one of the most
outstanding jazz musicians of any era, the troubled genius who
brought modernism to jazz and became a defining cultural force for
musicians, writers, and artists of every stripe. Arguably the most
significant musician in the country at the time of his death,
Parker set the standard many musicians strove to reach-though he
never enjoyed the same popular success that greeted many of his
imitators. Today, the power of Parker's inventions resonates
undiminished; and his influence continues to expand.
Celebrating Bird is the groundbreaking and
award-winning account of the life and legend of Charlie Parker from
renowned biographer and critic Gary Giddins, whom Esquire
called "the best jazz writer in America today." Richly illustrated
and drawing primarily from original sources, Giddins overturns many
of the myths that have grown up around Parker. He cuts a
fascinating portrait of the period, from Parker's apprentice days
in the 1930s in his hometown of Kansas City to the often difficult
years playing clubs in New York and Los Angeles, and reveals how
Parker came to embody not only musical innovation and brilliance
but the rage and exhilaration of an entire generation.
Fully revised and with a new introduction by the author,
Celebrating Bird is a classic of jazz writing that the
Village Voice heralded as "a celebration of the highest
order"-a portrayal of a jazz virtuoso whose gargantuan talent was
haunted by his excesses and a view into the ravishing art of one of
jazz's most commanding and remarkable figures.
Subjects: History, Music
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