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Emmys 2017
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Article

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop

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The election year makes me nostalgic, because in my youth, I ran for President many times. It’s not my fault I didn’t win. I would run again this year if my religion didn’t prohibit deception, and one of the messages I would put forth to the people is better education. Children should learn about important music, and I don’t mean just classical music. I mean jazz, too.

Chris Raschka’s book Charlie Parker Played Be Bop looks like a real nice way to introduce little children to the subject. It’s about one man, so there’s a person for the children to relate to, and he’s one of the greats: Charlie ”Bird” Parker.

We had a very close relationship, Bird and me — he was the other side of my heartbeat. It’s funny: We never really talked about it in so many words, but we were after the same thing in our separate ways, trying to take the music in the same direction, which is bebop.

In Charlie Parker, the writer doesn’t use a lot of words to dissect the music, either. He writes like a musician, giving a feeling of the music through the rhythm of the language. Lots of the words are there just for the sound of them — like ”reeti-footi, reeti-footi, ree!” It’s like a nursery rhyme — and it’s like ”scat” singing. You see: They’re not so far apart. Children will understand.

I like the drawings of Bird, too; they’re funny. So was he. I think this book would have made him laugh. It will surely make kids laugh-while they’re learning something. And that’s a combination that’s so nice. A