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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Artist Profiles

Charlie Parker

By Published: September 30, 2005
By 1950 jazz critics and fans alike were lauding Parker as the hero of modern jazz. Attempts were made to market him to larger audiences. He recorded an album called Charlie Parker With Strings in 1949 that confounded some jazz purists, but remained popular. Yet his best sides from this period were recorded with smaller outfits. His status was now world renowned, touring Europe, opening his own nightclub, and enjoying financial success.

Yet Parker's other seamier life was catching up with him. Heroin and alcohol dependency, a narcotics arrest leading to a revoking of his New York City cabaret license, unprofessional behavior, and mental health issues saw Parker slipping into a morass. He tried to commit suicide twice in 1954 and dissipation continued until his death on March 5, 1955. The attending physician had guessed Parker's age to be 60 years old, yet he was only 34.

Photo Credit
William P. Gottlieb



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