Charlie Parker Sketches: 2. Charlie Parker is American Roots Music
Charlie Parker is the eternal now that dries metaphysics into dust. Careening between elation and nothing-at-all, a virile intoxication, a force of nature with gold streaming through his veins.
Going out West and just staying, spending his airfare home on junk, drifting on the sea breeze, the hapless American explosion. Parker could toss off a masterpiece like “Moose the Mooch”, and in a state of pure joy, name said masterpiece after a much-sought-after West Coast smack dealer.
Parker is American instructions for the world on how to exist. It knocks you senseless with pleasure, full of satisfaction of its own perfect image. The roots of the modern American city, true roots music, tricky to pin down, grounded in the African American way of the self-confidence and nobility.
Playing a record always casts a spell. In the way that Jimmie Rodgers’ blue yodel takes us to trains and open spaces, Charlie Parker takes you to Whitman’s bustling dream of the U.S., foresees Woody Allen’s Manhattan, lands you speeding in the backseat of a sports car speeding across America with Jack and Neal.
Parker is America’s youthfulness raging out of control and still hitting all the beautiful notes.
RECENT ARTICLES BY MATT SHEDD:
- Marlon Brando’s Jazz-Culture Cool in an Era Before Elvis
- Keith Richards’s Coda: Review of His Autobiography, LIFE
- Woody Allen, Leon Redbone, and the Tricky Business of Cutting a Joke
- Elvis, Bill Monroe, and that Ol’ Blue Moon of Kentucky
- James Booker and the the St. James Infirmary
- Nic Cage is a Really Good Bad Lieutenant, or What if Humphrey Bogar..