Parker, Charlie "Bird"

Parker, Charlie "Bird"

(Charles Christopher Parker, Jr.), 1920–55, American musician and composer, b. Kansas City, Kans. He began playing alto saxophone in 1933 and, shifting from one band to another, eventually met Dizzy GillespieGillespie, Dizzy
(John Birks Gillespie) , 1917–93, American jazz musician and composer, b. Cheraw, S.C. He began to play the trumpet at 15 and later studied harmony and theory at Laurinburg Institute, N.C. He played with the bands of Cab Calloway and Billy Eckstine.
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 in New York City. Becoming friends and collaborators, they formed a quintet, which in 1945 made the first bop (or bebop) records. Their technique and style led the jazzjazz,
the most significant form of musical expression of African-American culture and arguably the most outstanding contribution the United States has made to the art of music. Origins of Jazz

Jazz developed in the latter part of the 19th cent.
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 world away from big-band swing music, and made them the leaders of the bop movement. Parker's brilliant improvisations, noted for their power and beauty, soon earned the admiration of innumerable musicians. He composed several instrumental quartets and made many recordings. For many years Parker was addicted to drugs, which hastened his death.

Bibliography

See biographies by B. Priestley (2006), S. Crouch (Vol. 1, 2013), and C. Haddix (2013); studies by G. Giddens (1987, repr. 1998, 2013) and L. O. Koch (1988).

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