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Bird Lives! The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker
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Bird Lives! The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  332 ratings  ·  20 reviews
This work on Charlie "Bird" Parker offers a picture of not only of the saxophonist-composer as an artist and as a human being, but also of zeitgeist and the musical/social setting that produced him. It shows his complex personality; his great appetites; the extent of his influence; and his work.
Hardcover, First Edition (U.K.), 404 pages
Published June 25th 1973 by Quartet Books Ltd. (first published 1973)
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Sep 09, 2008 Brendan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artists and jazz lovers
Recommended to Brendan by: russel kiefel
this book tore me apart. whether youre a charlie parker fanatic or not (tho it helps as its about charlie parker) ross russels 79 biography gives us access to the man with a hole in his soul. bird lived and played hard into his early death, his music took off from where armstrong left off, and all those that came after were merely replicating his apocalyptic blues. its a stunning insight into pre and post ww2 america, into the music industry, and into the core of an artist who blew too deep. cha...more
Serge Pierro
The definitive biography on Charlie Parker. Covers a lot of ground, including his famous appetites for music, women, food and drugs. Musicians and non-musicians will come away with something by reading this book.
Aug 12, 2008 Cary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Cary by: It is known as a must read among people interested in the arts
Bird Lives, what can you say? The biography of Charlie Parker. One of the most influencial black musicians of the 30's and one of the creators of bebop & improv jazz. His influence on jazz music is incalculable. If he was alive today he would have the American Lifetime Achievement award like Heston,Dylan, and other great contributers to American art. This is not a book just for musicians. Charlie Parker led an interesting life full of difficulties. Heroin addiction, racial oppression, and s...more
Winter Rose
Brings Bird "Soaring" To Life!
Troubling, very troubling, engaging, painful, great on the music. The author has a knowledge of culture and the history of ideas which helps a lot when placing the whole story into a wider context.
Part biography, part cultural history, and part novel - it is, for all its faults, an enormously important book.
Fun, informative and accessible to the non musician; Although it helps to know a little about the scene once the author starts naming others in the business. A great overview of one of the great talents in jazz. A good look into a man who's views and music were years ahead of his contemporaries.
Hard to say what to make of Ross Russell -- he a was a label owner as well as Parker's biographer; employer and eulogist. It's hard to believe he'd be impartial when it came to Bird. But keeping that in mind, it's another valuable look into the life of the bebop pioneer.
Although reprinted since, I first read an out-of-print copy found in a college library. Still the definitive bio of tormented genius Charlie Parker, it attempts to delineate and map the shifting, wavering boundaries between torment and genius.
I really liked this book. The story of Parker's even if it was sad at times was a great read. As with so many artists I often wonder what they would think of today's music. Also, I wonder where they would be now.
Nikki Mackenzie
badly edited but some good information on the life of parker. Definetly recommend to any hard core jazz fans and musicians
Amazing Account of pure genius by a direct witness. Definitive reading for all Jazz lovers.
Bird Lives!: The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker by Ross Russell (1996)
Wickovski Steve
A riveting biography of Charlie Parker by his recording company man Ross Russell

Dave Finnigan
quite technical for the non-musician,but still very good
i heard this was not the most accurate book but it's good
The definitive book on jazz legend Charlie Parker.
Great inside jazz stories, of KC, NYC and Bird's life.
best beginning to a biography i have ever read, and almost everything you would want to know about Charlie Parker's life. Awesome read.
Oct 21, 2009 Erin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I just ordered this book at the suggestion of a friend who knows music all too well. It's in his blood! I'm excited to read this book. I ordered so both my husband and I can read it.
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