Red Rodney honed his skills as a trumpet player in Philadelphia. Later, he joined Charlie Parker's band. He tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross about kicking his heroin habit and the kinds of jobs he takes to make a career in music.
Sheila Jordan is a jazz singer. Rather than make music she doesn't agree with, Jordan has kept her "day job" as a typist for her entire career. That might be changing as more people become aware of her work. She joins the show to discuss her life and career.
Author Jack Chambers has a new biography about the life of jazz legend Miles Davis. Chambers pays special attention to the trumpeter's early years playing, recording, and living with saxophonist Charlie Parker.
Photographer William Claxton. His new book, Jazz, is a collection of jazz photographs taken in the 50s and 60s and includes photographs of jazz greats like Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Max Roach.
Gary Giddins, jazz critic for The Village Voice and author of the books Celebrating Bird: the Triumph of Charlie Parker, and Rhythm-a-ning: Jazz Tradition and Innovation in the 80s. He is the founder of the American Jazz Orchestra, which performs important and neglected jazz works of the past.
Film critic Stephen Schiff reviews the new film based on the life of legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker. Schiff says it makes up for its lack of narrative drive with insight and an excellent soundtrack.
Clint Eastwood's biopic Bird delves deep into the personal life and legend of Charlie Parker. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says the story fails to connect these often tumultuous moments with the genius of Parker's music.
Rodney replaced Miles Davis in Charlie Parker's band. Many people know about their collaboration through the Parker biopic, Bird. After a drug problem in the 1970s, Rodney got clean and has been going strong ever since. His new album is called Code Red.
Charlie Watts, the drummer with the Rolling Stones, has always loved the great alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. Watts just recorded a box set that pays tribute to Parker. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead is unimpressed.