Stanley Crouch on ‘Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker’

BY Victoria Fleischer  October 14, 2013 at 11:30 AM EST

Listen to Chief Arts Correspondent Jeffrey Brown’s interview with Stanley Crouch above

“The Jazz story … it’s the American story” or so says Stanley Crouch, jazz scholar and author of the new book, “Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker.” The first installment of the two-volume biography on the legendary alto saxophonist chronicles Parker’s early years, growing up during the Depression, discovering the music of Kansas City and his move to New York that launched him into the annals of American and musical history.

In “Kansas City Lightning,” Crouch reconstructs the life of the jazz legend through decades of interviews with peers, collaborators and family members. The life he depicts is not without hardship; part one includes Parker’s struggles with his family and his battle with drugs, which would later kill him at the age of 34.