Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker

By Stanley Crouch

Kansas urban Lightning: the increase and occasions of Charlie Parker is the 1st installment within the long-awaited portrait of 1 of the main gifted and influential musicians of the 20 th century, from Stanley Crouch, one of many most excellent experts on jazz and tradition in America.

Throughout his existence, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a progressive performer who used his alto saxophone to create a brand new track often called bebop at the same time he wrestled with a drug habit that may bring about his loss of life on the age of thirty-four.

Drawing on interviews with friends, collaborators, and kin, Kansas urban Lightning recreates Parker’s Depression-era youth; his early days navigating the Kansas urban nightlife, encouraged through lions like Lester younger and count number Basie; and directly to long island, the place he started to go beyond the track he had mastered. Crouch unearths an formidable younger guy torn among track and medication, among his domineering mom and his impressionable younger spouse, whose teenage romance with Charlie lies on the bittersweet middle of this story.

With the knowledge of a jazz student, the cultural insights of an acclaimed social critic, and the narrative ability of a literary novelist, Stanley Crouch illuminates this American grasp as by no means before.

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Chu Berry Courtesy of the Frank Driggs assortment at Jazz at Lincoln heart. Buster Smith, Charlie’s mentor Courtesy Llew Walker on the fowl Lives web site, www. birdlives. co. united kingdom. Bandleader and saxophonist Tommy Douglas Courtesy of the Frank Driggs assortment at Jazz at Lincoln middle. Trumpeter Roy Eldridge Courtesy of the Frank Driggs assortment at Jazz at Lincoln middle. Pianist paintings Tatum Courtesy of James H. Fleet and chook Lives. Guitarist Biddy Fleet, who helped Charlie map the harmonic terrain of bebop.

The purchasers have been tucked as shut because the cylinders of paper and tobacco inside of a cigarette pack. That 4:30 broadcast had drawn 1000's who hadn’t already been confident via the controversy of this new band that was once chastising fortunate Millinder. there have been droves of musicians attempting to get close to the bandstand, searching for out the identify of the nameless saxophone participant who’d run all that melodic lightning via “Cherokee,” swinging his butt off all of the whereas. a few type of background used to be being made and so they didn’t are looking to leave out it.

For purposes not anyone fairly recalls, Fanny Ruffin stopped drowsing within the related room as her husband and stopped cooking for him. Daddy stayed upstairs, and the remainder of the family members used to be at the first ground. the kids didn’t comprehend, however the rigidity among the couple was once seen, and Fanny assigned ten-year-old Ophelia to take over certainly one of her roles. “Small as i used to be, i used to be cooking Daddy’s breakfast. Mama had hand over cooking for him and she or he might inform me and that i could attempt to do it. Mama made up our minds to maneuver simply because she didn’t are looking to remain there with Daddy.

Given Charlie’s urge for food for clean techniques, if the alto saxophonist were fortunate adequate to observe Tatum in motion nightly at Jimmy’s poultry Shack, Biddy Fleet may definitely have heard all approximately it. one other participant casting a wide shadow in long island on the time was once Coleman Hawkins, who’d simply lower back to the States after 5 years in a foreign country, the place he had lived the lifetime of a celeb unencumbered through race. around the water he did what was once now not continually attainable within the usa. convinced: using speedy automobiles, snowboarding, and coupling up with beautiful ladies, it doesn't matter what hair textures or pores and skin shades have been concerned.

A little bit differing transcriptions look in Woideck, The Charlie Parker significant other, ninety three, and at http://www. plosin. com/milesAhead/BirdInterviews. html#500500. The interview itself is obtainable on New fowl — infrequent dwell Recordings & Interviews, Swan Records/The Orchard, 1999/2010. 88: Addie Parker to Robert Reisner, in chook, 162. 89-90: Fred Dooley, taped interview. 1981. Lawrence Keyes informed Robert Reisner that his first band used to be known as the Deans of Swing (Bird, 129). despite the fact that, in Kansas urban Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop—A background, Frank Driggs and Chuck Haddix current modern proof suggesting that, while Charlie Parker was once a member in the summertime of 1935, Keyes’s unique band used to be known as the 10 Chords of Rhythm (or easily the Chords of Rhythm, after increasing to 12 pieces).

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