Trumpeter Miles Davis once said: "You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker."
Saxophone virtuoso Charlie "Bird" Parker — a Kansas City native — began playing professionally in his early teens, became a heroin addict at 16, changed the course of music, and then died when only 34 years old. For his new book on Parker, Chuck Haddix weaves together firsthand accounts from those who knew the legendary jazzman and in-depth research into previously overlooked historical sources to create a compelling narrative portrait of a tragic genius.
Haddix is director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the co-author of Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop, a History.