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Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker
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HarperCollins 2013
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"A tour de force . . . Crouch has given us a bone-deep understanding of Parker's music and the world that produced it. In his pages, Bird still lives." —Washington Post
A stunning portrait of Charlie Parker, one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, from Stanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America.
Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four.
Drawing on interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, Stanley Crouch recreates Parker's childhood; his early days navigating the Kansas City nightlife, inspired by lions like Lester Young and Count Basie; and on to New York, where he began to transcend the music he had mastered. Crouch reveals an ambitious young man torn between music and drugs, between his domineering mother and his impressionable young wife, whose teenage romance with Charlie lies at the bittersweet heart of this story.
With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights of an acclaimed social critic, and the narrative skill of a literary novelist, Stanley Crouch illuminates this American master as never before.
"A virtuous performance." —David Hajdu, New York Times Book Review
"A magnificent achievement; I could hardly put it down." —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"Insightful, profound, and wholly original." —Wynton Marsalis
"A jazz biography that ranks with the very best." —Booklist, starred review
"In prose that veers toward lyrical rapture, [Crouch] conjures the inner life of the improvising artist." —The New Yorker

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/24/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062314062
ASIN:
B00DG292OO

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APA Citation (style guide)

Stanley Crouch. (2013). Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Stanley Crouch. 2013. Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Stanley Crouch, Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. HarperCollins, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Stanley Crouch. Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. HarperCollins, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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        Stanley Crouch was twice nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, for his essay collections Notes of a Hanging Judge and The All-American Skin Game. His other books include Always in Pursuit, The Artificial White Man, and the acclaimed novel Don't the Moon Look Lonesome. He served on and off as the artistic consultant for jazz programming at Lincoln Center, was the president of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He died in 2020 at the age of 74.

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"A tour de force . . . Crouch has given us a bone-deep understanding of Parker's music and the world that produced it. In his pages, Bird still lives." —Washington Post
A stunning portrait of Charlie Parker, one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, from Stanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America.
Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four.
Drawing on interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, Stanley Crouch recreates Parker's childhood; his early days navigating the Kansas City nightlife, inspired by lions like Lester Young and Count Basie; and on to New York, where he began to transcend the music he had mastered. Crouch reveals an ambitious young man torn between music and drugs, between his domineering mother and his impressionable young wife, whose teenage romance with Charlie lies at the bittersweet heart of this story.
With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights of an acclaimed social critic, and the narrative skill of a literary novelist, Stanley Crouch illuminates this American master as never before.
"A virtuous performance." —David Hajdu, New York Times Book Review
"A magnificent achievement; I could hardly put it down." —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"Insightful, profound, and wholly original." —Wynton Marsalis
"A jazz biography that ranks with the very best." —Booklist, starred review
"In prose that veers toward lyrical rapture, [Crouch] conjures the inner life of the improvising artist." —The New Yorker
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        "A tour de force that is the print equivalent of a long, bravura jazz performance. . . . Crouch has given us a bone-deep understanding of Parker's music and the world that produced it. In his pages, Bird still lives." — Washington Post

        "It is from Mr. Crouch, a novelist as well as a critic and essayist, that we come to see Charlie Parker in the context of his time and place in America. . . . One comes away from Mr. Crouch's book wanting more." — Wall Street Journal

        "Kansas City Lightning succeeds as few biographies of jazz musicians have. . . This book is a magnificent achievement; I could hardly put it down." — Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

        "This is a memorable book. . . Stanley Crouch takes us deep into places most of us can only imagine—including into the heart of the mysterious split-second alchemy that takes place nightly on the bandstand." — Geoffrey C. Ward

        "A book about a jazz hero written in a heroic style. . . a bebop Beowulf." — New York Times

        "[Crouch] crafts lush scenes and crackling music writing. . . Jazz fans will want to read this book. . . This is a thorough and entertaining account of one of the greatest rises—and the prelude to one of the greatest falls—in jazz history." — NPR.org

        "It takes a lifetime of passionate engagement to write with the intensity and depth of Stanley Crouch. . . The results are insightful, profound, and wholly original. . . This a must read, not just for jazz fans, but for anyone interested in American possibilities." — Wynton Marsalis

        "A jazz biography that ranks with the very best." — Booklist, starred review

        "Crouch. . . is uniquely qualified to guide readers on this tour. . . A story rich in musical history and poignant with dramatic irony." — Kirkus Reviews

        "[A] riveting, long-awaited book . . . Here is Bird making his watershed discoveries before he fired his own lightning bolts." — Gary Giddins

        "A portrait of the young Charlie Parker with a degree of vivid detail never before approached. . . [Kansas City Lightning is] a deft, virtuosic panorama of early jazz. . . This is a mind-opening, and mind-filling, book." — Tom Piazza

        "Stanley Crouch's work is perhaps the most important writing on jazz today. . . This outstanding book is food for the soul for any serious listener of jazz music." — Madhav Chari, jazz pianist

        With the straight-ahead timing and the ethereal blowing of a great jazzman, Crouch delivers a scorching set. . . Crouch brings to life the swinging backdrop against which Parker honed his craft." — Publishers Weekly

        "Kansas City Lightning paints a profound portrait of a great American musician, but also features Crouch operating at the top of his game." — Eugene Holley, Publishers Weekly

        "Stanley Crouch has a store of fresh information for you in his new book about Charlie Parker (1920-55), the genius of American music universally known as Bird, and invaluable insights to offer into the meaning of Parker's achievement. It is imperative that you come into possession of this material..." — Daily Beast

        "Award-winning Crouch takes a deep look at [Parker's] rich life." — Denver Post

        "Social and cultural critic, columnist and MacArthur Genius Crouch offers a mix of impressionist strokes, historical facts and context in his...

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        July 29, 2013
        With the straight-ahead timing and the ethereal blowing of a great jazzman, Crouch delivers a scorching set in this first of two volumes of his biography of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, capturing the downbeats and the up-tempo moments of the great saxophonist’s life and music. Drawing on interviews with numerous friends, fellow musicians, and family members, Crouch traces Parker’s life from his earliest days in Kansas City, Mo., his early romance and eventual marriage to Rebecca Ruffin, and his heroin addiction to his involvement with his mentors Lester Young and Buster Smith. Crouch brings to life the swinging backdrop against which Parker honed his craft: “Kansas City was becoming a kind of kind of experimental laboratory, where the collective possibilities of American rhythm were being refined and expanded on a nightly basis.” Parker eventually decides that Kansas City isn’t big enough for him, and he rides the rails to Chicago and New York, ending up on Buster Smith’s doorstep, eager to absorb all the lessons the big city has to teach him. “By now, he had long since mastered the physical challenges of playing... and become preoccupied with the coordination of mind and muscle necessary to make his own way.” As Crouch reminds us, however, “Charlie Parker, no matter how highly talented, was not greater than his idiom. But his work helped to lead the art form to its most penetrating achievement.”

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"A tour de force . . . Crouch has given us a bone-deep understanding of Parker's music and the world that produced it. In his pages, Bird still lives." —Washington Post
A stunning portrait of Charlie Parker, one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, from Stanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America.
Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four.
Drawing on interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, Stanley Crouch recreates Parker's childhood; his early days navigating the Kansas City nightlife, inspired by lions like Lester Young and Count Basie; and on to New York, where he began to transcend the music he had mastered. Crouch reveals an ambitious young man torn between...
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