Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker

Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker

Title:Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062005595
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:384 pages

Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker is the first installment in the long-awaited portrait of one of the most talented and influential musicians of the twentieth century, from Stanley Crouch, one of the foremost authorities on jazz and culture in America.

Throughout his life, Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at the age of thirty-four.

Drawing on interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, Kansas City Lightning recreates Parker’s Depression-era childhood; his early days navigating the Kansas City nightlife, inspired by lions like Lester Young and Count Basie; and on to New York, where he began to transcend the music he had mastered. Crouch reveals an ambitious young man torn between music and drugs, between his domineering mother and his impressionable young wife, whose teenage romance with Charlie lies at the bittersweet heart of this story.

With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights of an acclaimed social critic, and the narrative skill of a literary novelist, Stanley Crouch illuminates this American master as never before.


    Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker Reviews

  • Nancy Oakes

    Super book about one of my ultimate favorite jazz musicians. "What he gave the horn, it gave back. What it gave him, he never forgot."The ultimate reading day for me includes the following: rain (whic...

  • Michael Finocchiaro

    I honestly get annoyed by Crouch sometimes (especially his dismissiveness here: https://youtu.be/jAtaxon9t5g) and his overbearing editorial influence on Ken Burn's Jazz TV show (https://wordpress.com/...

  • Andre

    This book both fascinates and frustrates. It's fascinating in that context is richly provided and Bird is thoroughly situated in the era of his time. The Kansas City of Bird's time is thoroughly unpac...

  • Carl R.

    Kansas City Lightning not only takes us inside Charlie Parker's life, but into the world of jazz, circa 1930's and 40's. Stanley Crouch's ending is a surprise because he stops in the middle, just as P...

  • John

    Here's a telling thing that showcases in miniature what's nutty about this book: about 2/3 of the way through, Crouch mentions that one step in Charlie Parker's development as a serious (obsessive, re...

  • Sally Ooms

    (I recently read an advanced review copy of Kansas City Lightning that I picked up at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association trade show this fall. I am assuming that there have no...

  • C. Michael

    Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker Stanley Crouch 365 Pages ISBN: # 978-0-06-200559-5 Harper 2013 Ross Russell, in the cover blurb of his biography of jazz saxophonist Charlie...

  • Duffy Pratt

    The subtitle of this book is accurate, so I guess it is shame on me to expect a full blown biography of Parker. It's not. It's not even really a biography of Parker's rise, although that story is stro...

  • Donna Lewis

    I usually have difficulty reading a long non-fiction book just because of the density and huge amount of information. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am a long time jazz lover, and I appr...

  • David

    With a flair for digression that only Melville could love, Crouch deftly paints pictures of the early factors in the life of Charlie Parker. This book covers Bird's life up to his return to New York w...