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How the jazz icon cracked apart the rusted shell of the piano and opened a portal into the breathless, off-tempo grind of being black in America.

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Charlie Parker was one of the most important figures in the development of jazz and in particular Bop. His was a thoughtful kind of jazz, a saxophonist unrestricted by arrangements made him the master of improvisation. A troubled man, with drugs and drink at the heart of his problems, he was also a genius. He is the man of which it can be said, without fear of contradiction, that he changed the course of jazz history.

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