“Bird was kind of like the sun, giving off the energy we drew from him,” Max Roach said of the alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. The sun set early for Parker, who died at thirty-four of pneumonia on March 12, 1955. He was a world-class musician, but he was also a world-class addict. His body was so haggard that the doctor who examined him estimated his age at fifty-three.
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