Kansas City Lightning

Kansas City Lightning

The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The first installment in the long-awaited portrait of one of the most talented and influential musicians of the twentieth century. 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 34. With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights of a social critic, and the narrative skill of a novelist, drawing on interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, Stanley Crouch 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.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Harper, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062005595
Branch Call Number: 921 Parke
Description: 365 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 08, 2019

Lively, informative, and engaging biography of the iconic sax player Charlie "Bird" Parker. Born in Kansas City, Parker lived a full and fascinating life before burning out at 34. Crouch covers his early days in K.C., his beginnings in jazz, his brief hobo period, the wife and child he left, and his arrival in New York. It stops somewhat abruptly, before his career really takes off, and I think there's a second volume due sometime. The only thing missing is an annotated discography. A great bio, even if you're just a casual jazz fan.

May 11, 2015

The author has been writing about jazz for more than forty years, and is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.
Crouch gives us a great biography, and a history of the rise of bebop. Sweet!

tailwagger Mar 10, 2014

Beautifully written, with incredible insight. A compelling piece of work with nary a sour note. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in American history or contemporary music. It reminds me a little of Robert Caro's writing, a story told so well you forget it's non-fiction.

ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2014

"The first of two volumes based on the life of one of the most talented and influential musicians of the 20th century reaches back past the legend to reveal Charlie Parker the wunderkind who was raised in the midst of the Depression in the wide-open town of Boss Tom Pendergast's Kansas City." Biography and Memoir February 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/0e887225-0b8a-4fa1-a3f4-f7a1eba4ffe0?postId=0eb00fdc-2a64-4083-8ac8-384add517db0


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

LibraryThing Series Information


Find it at CRRL

To Top