Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker

Celebrating Bird is an extraordinary account of one of the most commanding, accomplished and influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. Richly designed with photographs and documents, many of them published here for the first time, Celebrating Bird is a succinct and indelible portrait of an American musical genius, a man who altered the music of his time and became a legend in the process.

Relying chiefly on original sources, Gary Giddins overturns many of the myths that have grown up around Parker. He details Parker's first faltering steps in music, a teenage marriage, and his rejection of conventionalism in life and art. By concentrating on Parker's apprenticeship years, Giddins shows how he used the resources of the Midwest to fashion a new way of playing jazz; how he collaborated with such fellow modernists as Dizzy Gillespie, Tadd Dameron, Max Roach and Miles Davis to produce modernism's first masterworks; and how he sustained his dignity and courage despite self-destructive tendencies that ultimately took his life. Parker's story is one of triumph over crushing odds, and a tribute to the balm of art.

With a penetrating blend of research and reflection, Giddins combines statements by Parker and his intimates with analyses of his music to reach beyond the myth and get at the man. Charlie Parker's music is more widely known today than ever before. Celebrating Bird complements the music and will engage the imagination of listeners who know or want to know the ravishing pleasures of his art.


1989--ASCAP Deems Taylor Award: "Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker"

1989--American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation: "Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker"