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Haddix, Chuck

Bird. The Life and Music of Charlie Parker

This short biography by Kansas Citybased Haddix is an attempt to separate the life from the considerable legend of jazz innovator and bebop pioneer Charlie Yardbird Parker. Haddix´s fine introduction recapitulates the complexities and contradictions in the protean Parker and suggests the overwhelming task the author has set for himselfa task also being tackled by notable jazz critic Stanley Crouch, whose Kansas City Lightning, the first of a two-volume biography of Parker, also appears in October. Haddix has done prodigious research, drawing on the copious jazz literature as well as previously published conversations with Parker´s former associates and friends, but seems to have initiated rather little interviewing himself in trying to accomplish his ambitious goal. His book is nonetheless, by virtue of its impressive detail, a notable addition to the extensive Music in American Life series and offers a good, brief life story of a sadly brief (if full) life. Though this volume won´t command the interest that Crouch´s account will, most Charlie Parker devotees will treat the appearance, in the same month, of two books about their idol as a very good thing indeed.

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