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Charlie Parker (1920–1955), nicknamed “Bird”, was one of the most innovative saxophonists and band leaders in modern jazz.

Growing up in Kansas and picking up the saxophone at age 11, he moved to New York in 1939, where he recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach and Bud Powell throughout the next decade. An outstanding virtuoso on his instrument, Parker essentially introduced a new musical vocabulary with radical new harmonic and melodic ideas, leading the development of the bebop style. He struggled with heroin addiction most of his adult life and died from drug-induced illnesses at age 34.