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BOOK REVIEWS

Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker

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Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker Stanley Crouch 365 ISBN:978-0-06-200559-5 Harper Collins 2013 Stanley Crouch's account of Charlie Parker's first twenty-one years isn't a litany of facts and antidotes rendered in an easily digestible form. Not unlike Parker, Crouch is brilliant, bold, ambitious, and mercurial. He delights in conjoining a dazzling array of topics, often introducing a particular subject, moving on to something else, and later on revisiting the original concept in a different guise. Nothing stands in isolation; everything is interrelated. The book is filled with extended journeys ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Testimony: A Tribute To Charlie Parker

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Testimony: A Tribute To Charlie Parker Yusef Komunyakaa 156 pages ISBN: 978-0-8195-7429-9 Wesleyan University Press 2013 In terms of his global influence and enduring legacy, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was unquestionably one of the most important artistic figures of the 20th century. Almost sixty years after his premature demise Parker's musical DNA can be detected almost everywhere jazz is played. Parker's music--and in no small measure his myth--has inspired countless jazz musicians but it has also inspired authors, painters, film makers and a surprising number of poets to pay their own form of ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker by Gary Giddins

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Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker Gary Giddins 208 pages ISBN: 978-1-4529-4080-9 University of Minnesota Press 2013 Having read Gary Giddins' revised edition of Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker I am even more committed to my position in my recent review of Stanley Crouch's Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker: “Crouch casts a well-worn story, many times told, within the frame of an exhaustively-researched social history of Black America surrounding World War II." Every one of the half dozen Parker biographies tells the same ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker

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Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker Stanley Crouch 365 Pages ISBN: # 978-0-06-200559-5 Harper 2013 Ross Russell, in the cover blurb of his biography of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker Bird Lives--The High Life and hard Times of Charlie “Yardbird" Parker (Quartet Books, 1973), asks “Why should a white man tell this story?" and proceeds to state the obvious: “Firstly, because [as Ross Russell points out] no black man has done it yet." Now, after nearly 30 years of threatening to do so, columnist and social critic Stanley Crouch has ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker by Charles Haddix

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Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie ParkerCharles Haddix190 PagesISBN: 025203791University of Illinois Press2013 Charlie Parker shares with delta blues legend Robert Johnson the lack of a comprehensive and academically-sound biography. Johnson's biographical material is strewn across several books, the earliest riddled with romance and inaccuracy, periodical articles and liner notes. While at least two completed or near completed biographies by the late Stephen Calt and Mack McCormick molder in manuscript on some shelf, Steve LaVere, the keeper of all things Johnson, remains content to collect royalties ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Charlie Parker: The Complete Masters 1941-54

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Charlie ParkerThe Complete Masters 1941-54Universal France2012 It is possible that more “complete" collections of the work of Charlie Parker have been released than there were recordings made by the saxophonist. And as you beat your way through the box set undergrowth, caution is required. Few of the collections are, in fact, complete, even within the parameters (complete live, complete studio, complete with strings, etc) by which they define themselves. In the hands of record company marketing departments, “complete" can take on a stretchability that would be the envy of Marvel Comics' ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Cookers and the Vijay Iyer Trio, at Charlie Parker Jazz Festival 2010

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Charlie Parker Jazz FestivalTompkins Square ParkNew York, NYAugust 29, 2010After a blistering blues-based set by New York-based singer Catherine Russell, the 7-piece hard-bop ensemble The Cookers (Billy Harper: tenor sax; Eddie Henderson and David Weiss: trumpets; Craig Handy: alto sax and flute; George Cables: piano; Cecil McBee: bass and Billy Hart: Drums) took to the stage with a hard-driving number that shifted time signatures, going from a blues-inflected groove to a more syncopated tempo and back again. The tune featured great solos from Harper, Weiss and Cables, who set the tone for the entire performance.

LIVE REVIEWS

Papo Vazquez and Cedar Walton at The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, NYC

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Papo Vazquez and Cedar Walton Charlie Parker Jazz Festival Tompkins Square Park, New York City August 30, 2009

The weather did not threaten the second day of music at the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Manhattan's Tompkins Square Park. The sun shone through all day, treating fans and musicians alike to an afternoon of resplendent music.

Trombonist Papo Vazquez kicked off his set with his 8-piece Pirates Troubadours ensemble with a complex, yet highly improvised, overture in which he played a bullhorn. It soon was clear that he would not ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Charlie Parker: Bird in Time & Washington, DC, May 23, 1948

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Charlie Parker Bird in Time 1940-1947 ESP-Disk2008 Charlie Parker Washington DC, 1948 Uptown Jazz2008 In the liner notes to Washington, DC, 1948, Ira Gitler reaffirms an assessment made in his 1966 classic The Masters of Bebop: “The period of 1947-48 was the zenith of Charlie Parker's career and the time of his greatest influence," due in part, he goes on to explain, to a “shift" in the New York “club scene" that produced venues ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Charlie Parker: Bird in Time 1940-1947

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Charlie ParkerBird in Time 1940-1947--Selected Recordings and Rare InterviewsESP-Disk2008 Let us now praise a famous ghost... embracing the spirit of Charlie Bird Parker.

They are like feathers fluttering down from a spirit up above. Bird feathers. I make haste to collect them as the settle around me forming words and music...a complete picture of the epiphany that came to some in an age when few dared to break the established mould. Bird feathers that flutter down in a groove yard. All that's left of a genius at the center of a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Parker: Bird in Time 1940-1947: Selected Recordings and Rare Interviews

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Charlie Parker is as mythic a figure as jazz has produced. His influence on the very form of the medium reconfigured the way music was approached in virtually all realms of practice. Yet, as Bird in Time 1940-1947: Selected Recordings and Rare Interviews reveals, his style did not arrive fully formed, but rather was worked toward through personal tenacity and the support of other musicians who shared in his vision.

This four-disc collection culls a bevy of examples of Bird's early musical progress as well as interviews with Bird and those closest to him. The result ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Parker & Arne Domnerus: In Sweden - November 22, 1950

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Charlie Parker certainly had his share of imitators, some of whom adopted his destructive lifestyle in hopes that it was the key to his success. One who stayed clean became one of the best (and least known) of the Parker disciples: Arne Domnerus.  He was also fortunate enough to share a concert with Parker, released as In Sweden - November 22, 1950.  Although the two didn't play together, both sets are filled with intense, delicious bebop.

For the first half of the concert, Parker is joined by Rolf Ericson on trumpet and a rhythm section of native ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Parker: Washington DC, 1948

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Charlie Parker inspired a Grateful Dead-like fervor for taping his live appearances as the steady stream of unreleased concert performances attests. Many of these recordings are of questionable quality though, and this 1948 Washington DC performance is captured on acetate and has as much crackle and hiss as music. The microphone placement never comes close to picking up all the nuances of the blowing. However, the zealous are always willing to overlook these shortcomings as long as the music is good enough.

In this case, however, the participants will be of marginal interest, with the exception of Buddy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Parker/Arne Domnerus: In Sweden (Nov. 22, 1950)

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In today's growingly fractured jazz world, it's hard to fathom how strong was the hegemony of Charlie Parker and bebop over the jazz world in the decade after World War II, especially during the years, like 1950-51, when Parker was actively touring. For proof of bebop's international reach and appeal, this is a prime historical document: a recording from a concert in Malmo, Sweden featuring Parker with local musicians in a typical bebop quintet setting. At least for some of the concert; the rest of it featured the same configuration, but with the Swedish alto saxophonist Arne Domnerus in place ...



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