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Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker (1987)

Cast: Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, more...
Director: Kendrick Simmons, Gary Giddins
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Studio: Geneon
Genre: Documentary, Music, Documentary, Music
Running Time: 59 min.
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One year before the Clint Eastwood-directed Bird, Gary Giddins likewise covered the life and work of jazz great Charlie "Bird" Parker in this absorbing documentary. Rare filmclips of Parker in action on the alto and tenor sax are intertwined with the live reminiscences of his contemporaries. Among those interviewed are Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus. As a bonus, we see them in performance as well (and there are many, many bonuses in this film). As the title indicates, this is a celebration of Bird's life, though one cannot help but come away from the film grieving over Parker's premature death at age 34 in 1955. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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