Kansas City Lightning
The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker
Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of CharlieParker is the first installment in the long-awaited portrait of one ofthe most talented and influential musicians of the twentieth century, fromStanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America.
Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the torturedAmerican artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone tocreate a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addictionthat would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four. Drawing on interviewswith peers, collaborators, and family members, Kansas City Lightning re-createsParker’s Depression-era childhood; his early days navigating the Kansas Citynightlife, inspired by lions like Lester Young and Count Basie; and on to NewYork, where he began to transcend the music he had mastered. Crouch reveals anambitious young man torn between music and drugs, between his domineeringmother and his impressionable young wife, whose teenage romance with Charlielies at the bittersweet heart of this story.
With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights ofan acclaimed social critic, and the narrative skill of a literary novelist,Stanley Crouch illuminates this American master as never before.