Bird: Kobal Collection
EW Staff
October 22, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Movies about musicians:”Bird”

LEAD SINGER Forest Whitaker (left, with Sam Wright as Dizzy Gillespie) digs deep to play a troubled jazz virtuoso, saxophonist Charlie ”Bird” Parker.

PITCH-PERFECT? Director and jazz fanatic Clint Eastwood painstakingly inserted real solos by the late Parker into new musical settings, with ultra-authentic results.

HUMBLE ORIGINS Parker had a modest upbringing, but the focus is on his struggles with drugs, alcohol, and a lack of steady gigs.

HIGH NOTE Stuck playing a Jewish wedding for cash, Bird somehow transforms ”Hava Negila” into joyous bebop — and everybody digs it.

TRAGIC ENDING His body ravaged by years of abuse, Bird dies at 34 — and the coroner assumes he must be in his 60s.

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