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Bird Lives: The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie Yardbird Parker [Paperback]

Ross Russell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 1976
This work on Charlie Bird Parker offers a picture of not only of the saxophonist-composer as an artist and as a human being, but also of zeitgeist and the musical/social setting that produced him. It shows his complex personality; his great appetites; the extent of his influence; and his work.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Bird Lives: The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie Yardbird Parker + Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Quartet; 1st edition (1 Aug 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704330946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704330948
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ross Russell is the author of "The Sound, " a novel of the jazz world, and "Jazz Style in Kansas City and the Southwest." In 1946 he formed Dial Records, heading the company for a decade, during which he released records by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
When Charlie Parker appeared on the jazz scene nobody knew much about him. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read about a tragic genius 27 Sep 2000
By A Customer
I read this book because I was interested in finding out about Charlie Parker, after reading Ian Carr's Miles Davis biography, and reading how highly Miles rated Bird. This book is at least the other's equal, and tells a harrowing story of a man way ahead of his time spiralling into a drugs hell. A great read, it will improve your knowledge of jazz history in Parker's revolutionary times, and your appreciation of the man's music (often hard to follow, but ultimately rewarding) while drawing you into the far more personal aspect of the destruction of a man, often betrayed by a world not yet ready for him.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Myth making 20 July 1999
By A Customer
The opening chapter is marvellous. A fictional account of Benedetti recording Bird in action. The rest of the book is good too, but much of it has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Russell has been credited with creating many of the myths surrounding Parker and his life. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that Russell holds copyright on all the Dial recordings? A good story, but the Charlie Parker Companion is a much more factual and interesting and not imbued with as much artistic licence.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very fun too read, but is it all true??? 29 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This book is a very fun book to read. It's written in novel form, as well, and you can just think of how Parker's life must have been like. But the problem is with Russell, that he seems to be building his book too much around myths. This makes the book fun too read, but you can just wonder if it's true or not. For example, Russell made Benedetti a much better sax player than he originally was, which makes us so incredibly impressed over Charlie PArker, that it's unbelievable. But don't get me wrong, Charlie Parker is a jazz titan, and he really knew his stuff, but if Russell had documented every source of information, lots of things, I believe, would have been erased. Then the book would be a bit more boring. But read it, because it describes the atomesphere of the late-40s America, very well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Charlie Parker was a troubled genius, a brilliant musician and Jazz giant who's influence

transcends his life and times. He was also a product of the social, political and family

environment in which he lived. Ross Russell's lucid biography skillfully presents Parker's

life in it's appropriate context. More than simply cataloging the events of his life, Russell

illucidates how Parker influenced, and was influenced by, his world. Russell refrains from

rationalizing or passing judgement on Parker's self-destructive and sociopathic behavior's or

overly glorifying his work. However, he does not shy away from providing a clear picture of the

power of his genius and the negative influences of his troubled personality. An outstanding book

which is a must read for Jazz enthusiasts and students of American culture.

Charles Saxe, Chicago, Illinois
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