Skip to comments.Charlie Parker: a Genius Distilled
Posted on 03/21/2010 11:13:53 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Charlie Parker lived hard, played hard, died young. Now an uncanny sculpture of him in his last months has resurfaced. Richard Williams on a story of jazz, art and devotion
The last time Julie Macdonald saw Charlie Parker, he was catching a flight home from Los Angeles to New York for the funeral of his three-year-old daughter, Pree, who had died in hospital in the early hours of 6 March, 1954 after a long illness. Two nights earlier, Parker had been fired, for the second time in a week, by the owner of the Tiffany Club in Hollywood after behaving erratically and arguing with the management. He was staying at the Pasadena home of Macdonald, a sculptor, when he received the news of Pree's death.
His immediate reaction, in Macdonald's recollection, was to drink heavily and send a series of increasingly desperate telegrams to his wife, Chan. The fourth and last read: MY DAUGHTER IS DEAD. I KNOW IT. I WILL BE THERE AS QUICK AS I CAN. IT IS VERY NICE TO BE OUT HERE. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN VERY NICE TO ME OUT HERE. I AM COMING IN RIGHT AWAY TAKE IT EASY. LET ME BE THE FIRST ONE TO APPROACH YOU. I AM YOUR HUSBAND. SINCERELY, CHARLIE PARKER. Then he poured a bottle of scotch down the toilet, gave away his remaining supply of heroin, and Macdonald drove him to the airport.
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
Okay, well, I hope it’s better than her “Three Graces” sculpture, which I found on wiki.
Charlie Parker, Genius? This emperor has no clothes. Bebop ain’t doodly-squat. As modern painting and sculpture are mostly ephemeral, esoteric, confused blots, blobs, smears, masses, and messes that only a few claim to appreciate, understand or enjoy, so men like Parker be-bopped Jazz into an atmosphere where it became little more than vaguely-rhythmical, distantly-associated notes, chords, squawks, and screeches that “lesser” musicians approached primarily as oracular puzzles that they should try to figure out. Which is why FM-Jazz radio stations in big cities either stay small or go broke. Only now, with Nancy Pelosi’s help, we can “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.” Jazz might live again, under Obamacare, hayna? Or no?
Bebop aint doodly-squat.
I don’t like x, therefore x ain’t doodly squat.
I personally don’t much care for opera, but I don’t suggest that it is bad, just not my cup of tea.
Have never understood those who would attempt to place objective truth in a matter as subjective as this. It’s OK not to like bop, but you need not vilify it to justify your opinion. Cuz that’s all you got, your opinion.
Can’t hear the beauty in Monk or Bird? Or any of the others wearing the bop mantle? Sucks to be you.
Before Bebop even existed, Dizzy Gillespie was in Cab Calloway’s big band. He was experimenting with ideas that became bebop, and Calloway didn’t like it one bit. He called it, “Chinese music.” I’m not sure if Calloway ever revised his opinion.
Of course he didn't. It wasn't what Cab was about. Bop was what the kids were playing after the adults, like Calloway, went to bed.
Cant hear the beauty in Monk or Bird, can’t see the beauty of what I believe is called abstract painting, either. Sucks to be me, or sucks to be one of the fooled who admire the fine brocade and embroidery the emperor’s wearing?
sucks to be one of the fooled who admire the fine brocade and embroidery the emperors wearing?
I can guarantee you that it doesn’t suck to be able to hear the beauty in Monk or Bird. Iron clad guarantee.
I’m more ambivalent about abstract visual arts. Some I get, some I don’t. But that makes sense, I guess, as I’m a musician not a painter.
I’m puzzled a bit that because you don’t care for these particular ‘art forms’, you must see those who do as having been fooled in some way.
To understand what happened, you have to understand a law that has operated in the history of the arts since the end of the Modernist Epoch in 1929 the Donkeys Tail Law of modern art history. From Manet to Mondrian, the development of painting had been a natural growth out of the merging traditions of a world civilization. If you wanted to see Picasso, or even Salvador Dali, all you had to do was frequent the Louvre, and in a month youd see both of them, carefully studying a Tintoretto, an Egyptian bas relief or an African sculpture. Modern painting was painters painting, highly skilled and deeply learned, but to the public, as Khrushchev said, It all looked as though it had been painted by a donkeys tail dipped in paint.
Rexroth's San Francisco, SF Examiner, 1975
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