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Charlie Parker: His Music and Life
     

Charlie Parker: His Music and Life

by Carl Woideck
 

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"Whatever background you bring to it, the book willl likely enrich your understanding of Parker's music. . . ." —Cadence

As one of the architects of modern jazz (often called "bebop"), Charlie Parker (1920-55) had a profound effect on American music that continues to this day.

This book opens with a chapter of biography and then progresses to four

Overview

"Whatever background you bring to it, the book willl likely enrich your understanding of Parker's music. . . ." —Cadence

As one of the architects of modern jazz (often called "bebop"), Charlie Parker (1920-55) had a profound effect on American music that continues to this day.

This book opens with a chapter of biography and then progresses to four chapters focusing on Charlie Parker's music by tracing his artistic evolution and major achievements as a jazz improviser. Much like a guided tour through an artist's retrospective, the book introduces readers to a sampling of Charlie Parker's most illustrative works. The musical discussions and transcribed musical examples are keyed to compact disc timings for easy location—a feature unique to this book.

"The musical analysis is brilliant, particularly the pre-1945 fragments." —DownBeat

". . . debunks the stereotype that jazz musicians are unschooled and unsophisticated when it comes to music as art rather than entertainment. . . . [An] insightful and informative addition to the literature of jazz." —Calvin Wilson, Kansas City Star

Carl Woideck is Instructor of Jazz History, University of Oregon.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Charlie Parker didn't invent jazz. He didn't even reinvent it; jazz simply transformed from big band swing into a fierce new sound called bebop, which just so happened to be cast in Parker's image. It's the Kansas City saxophonist's virtuosity that fans often consider bebop's greatest victory. The latest contribution to the University of Michigan's American Music Series fails to dispel Bird's enormous myth or transport that myth into the realm of hard fact. Perhaps Woideck's opening biographical sketch is so desultory and insecure because Parker, a womanizer and heroin addict for most of his adult life, never proved too dependable. Also, while there are frequent references to the considerable endnotes, it would have been helpful if the many important first-person quotations regarding Parker's life and career were explicitly credited. Although the year-by-year analyses and solo transcriptions that comprise the remainder of this study do go on to demonstrate an understanding of Parker's technical developments that is clearer than most such academic analyses, this volume is not likely to appeal to lay fans. (Dec.)
Library Journal
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of alto saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker in the history of jazz. Parker's unique sound and extremely advanced technique changed forever the way the saxophone is played. Along with fellow pioneers Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, and others, Parker helped invent bebop, which revolutionized jazz with its frenetic tempos and complex harmonic structure. Woideck (jazz history, Univ. of Oregon) devotes the majority of this book to a well-written and accessible analysis of Parker's music, illustrating points with transcriptions from various recordings. The analysis section is subdivided by time period and also incorporates the recollections of other musicians involved in the sessions. While the untrained reader will likely find it rather rough going, Woideck has worked hard to keep his analysis accessible to anyone with a basic understanding of music. Since Parker's life story is covered in a one-chapter "biographical sketch," Woideck's book will not take the place of such successful biographies as Gary Giddins's Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker (Morrow, 1987) and Robert Reisner's Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker (Da Capo, 1975). Still, students of jazz will welcome this text; strongly recommended for all jazz collections.Rick Anderson, Penacook, N.H.
From the Publisher

"This is easily the most comprehensive exploration of Parker’s music that I’ve come across. . . .
Painstakingly researched and written with clarity and crispness, Charlie Parker: His Music and Life is a fascinating and enriching book for any musician, and a must-read for alto saxophonists."

—Stormhorn.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780472085552
Publisher:
University of Michigan Press
Publication date:
12/01/1998
Series:
The Michigan American Music Series
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,356,875
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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