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Ian Penman: The Obsession with Charlie Parker

23 January 2014
Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker 
by Gary Giddins.
Minnesota, revised edition, 195 pp., £15, October 2013, 978 0 8166 9041 1
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Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker 
by Stanley Crouch.
Harper, 365 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 06 200559 5
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Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker 
by Chuck Haddix.
Illinois, 188 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 252 03791 7
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... regally unpredictable needs 24/7. (It’s perhaps no surprise he grew into a man with such little impulse control.) At one point in Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker, StanleyCrouch describes Mrs Parker’s attitude to Rebecca as that towards an ‘interloper’; otherwise, no one embellishes this score with any oblique psychoanalytic riffs. (Oh, for a quick burst of ...

National Treasure

Christopher Hitchens

14 November 1996
Jacqueline Bouvier: An Intimate Memoir 
by John Davis.
Wiley, 256 pp., £14.99, October 1996, 0 471 12945 3
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... subject to faint Sixties nostalgia, a transmission from another time: the time before things started to go downhill. In The All-American Skin Game, a collection of essays by the black blues writer StanleyCrouch, I came across a tribute which shows the depth and range of feeling that the lady was capable – very probably to her own surprise – of evoking: Gatherings of domestic workers in my mother ...


Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman

15 July 2015
... and, above all, self-determination. The study of blues-derived music has long been divided between those, like Amiri Baraka, who hear a music of protest and revolt, and those, like Albert Murray and StanleyCrouch, who hear the sound of affirmation and pride. Coleman’s music shattered the false opposition, joyous in its repudiation of any restriction on freedom.‘This is our music,’ Coleman ...
15 June 2016
What Happened, Miss Simone? A Biography 
by Alan Light.
Canongate, 309 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78211 871 8
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... to the force of the band – it’s a collective experience and I don’t think Nina liked to play like that. I think she liked it to be about her,’ the African-American music and cultural critic StanleyCrouch said of Simone’s musicianship, adding: ‘Her sound is freer than many sounds because she doesn’t imitate an instrument. She actually wants her sound to be a human sound.’ Listen to the ...

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