90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Flair And Flash Of Charlie Parker’s ‘Lightning’

Big jazz thinker Stanley Crouch on the wild, young mind and music of early “Bird,” Charlie Parker.

Jazz artist Charlie Parker is photographed on the bandstand at Billy Berg's Club in Hollywood, Calif., in this 1945 file photo. (AP)

Jazz artist Charlie Parker is photographed on the bandstand at Billy Berg’s Club in Hollywood, Calif., in this 1945 file photo. (AP)

Charlie Parker made his name as Bird.  The revolutionary jazz sax man out of Kansas City.  Blew up in the 1940s.  Made bebop with Dizzy Gillespie.  Blew minds all over.  Died of drug use and bad health – a lot of heroin there – at 34 in 1955.  Charlie Parker changed jazz.  Now, the great jazz writer Stanley Crouch shows us where Charlie Parker came from.  The early years.  The desperado.  Kansas City lightning.  Up next On Point:  Stanley Crouch on Bird.  Charlie Parker.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Stanley Crouch, poet, novelist, biographer and jazz and cultural critic. Author of “Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker.” Also author of “The All-American Skin Game, or Decoy of Race,” “Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz,” “The Artificial White Man,” “Notes of a Hanging Judge” and “Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome?

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: When Bird Was A Fledgling – “He’s worked on this book, off and on, for more than 30 years. He’s done his share of interviews. But Mr. Crouch is not about getting his knees dirty, rooting around in old tax bills and manila folders and yellowing box-office receipts. He’s about aesthetics and ideas. His book is a 365-page riff on Charlie Parker, on America in the first half of the 20th century and on black intellect and feeling. It worked for me, mostly. To settle in and listen to Mr. Crouch on Parker’s sound is to send you racing to your CD collection or Spotify app.”

Wall Street Journal: Book Review: ‘Kansas City Lightning’ by Stanley Crouch | ‘Bird’ by Chuck Haddix | ‘Celebrating Bird’ by Gary Giddins — “On March 12, 1955, Charlie Parker achieved his greatest public fame when he died at age 34, in the elegant New York hotel apartment of Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter (born Rothschild, “Nica” to her friends), thus provoking the first tabloid headlines of his short and turbulent life. Unlike trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, his partner in the creation of the jazz style known as bebop, Parker was rarely interviewed, and little was known about his early life. Recognition of the alto saxophonist’s brilliant artistry was largely confined to the jazz press, at home and abroad.”

NPR: Charlie Parker: ‘Bird Lives!’ Part 1 — “In Kansas City’s jazz scene, after-hours jam sessions filled the night air. After gaining a reputation as an aspiring saxophonist, a teenaged Parker joined in a jam session with top-notch players like drummer Papa Jo Jones. The session was far out of Parker’s league, leaving the hopeful musician humiliated after listeners laughed at his inchoate playing. In a rare radio interview with fellow saxophonist Paul Desmond and disc jockey John McClellan, Parker revealed that the experience sparked his intense practicing regimen, which often found him playing as much as eleven hours at a stretch.”

Read An Excerpt Of “Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker” By Stanley Crouch

Playlist

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

from “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 30, 2014
Soylent is a new meal-replacement substance meant to offer a complete nutritional alternative to traditional food. (Courtesy Soylent)

Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

 
Oct 30, 2014
Realtor Helen Hertz stands in front of one of her listings in Cleveland Heights, Ohio Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Hertz, a real estate agent for more than three decades, has seen firsthand what has happened to the market in the wake of the recession and foreclosure crisis. (AP)

Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Bit More On The History Of Quarantine
Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

So this whole quarantine thing — why to do it, when to do it, and when to just say no.

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment