Dave Chisholm’s graphic biography, Chasin’ the Bird: Charlie Parker in California, is a superbly crafted and imaginative record of a legendary two-year period beginning in 1945 during which bebop innovator Charlie Parker traveled to California as part of band put together by his close friend Dizzy Gillespie.
Organized around six “choruses” based on episodes in Parker’s life told by close associates, the book—a masterful celebration of a musical genius who continues to influence jazz today—offers vivid accounts of his life, his tragic addiction to drugs, and his extraordinary alto saxophone improvisations and timeless bebop compositions.
In this six-page excerpt, the great tenor saxophonist John Coltrane describes when he first met Parker and the transformative conversation that ensued between the two giants of modern jazz improvisation.
Chasin’ The Bird: Charlie Parker in California by Dave Chisholm will be published by Z2 Comics in September.
—Ten Essential Music Biographies
This piece was produced in partnership with Publishers Weekly.