Charlie "Bird" Parker
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 after shifting from one band to another he met Dizzy Gillespie in New York City. They formed a quintet, which in 1945 made the first bop (or bebop) records and thus became the leaders of the bop movement in jazz. 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.
See biography by B. Priestley (2006); studies by L. O. Koch (1988) and G. Giddens (1998).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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