News Article

Bird

(1988)

Forest Whitaker, Bird
Image credit: Bird: Kobal Collection

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.

Originally posted Oct 21, 2004
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