In Conversation: Stanley Crouch and Tom Piazza on Charlie Parker

Wednesday December 18, 2013
07:00 pm

Tags: Event




Part Two 

Part Three






Photo by Zack Zook (Crouch)

The famous jazz critic Stanley Crouch, author of the new biography Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker talked with novelist Tom Piazza, who may be best known to Center for Fiction audiences as author of the novel City Of Refuge, which won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, and as a writer for the HBO series Treme. Piazza is also a Grammy Award-winning music journalist who has written widely on jazz, blues, and country music for the New York Times, the Oxford American, and many other publications. 


About Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker

The groundbreaking Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker is the first in a projected two-volume life of Charlie Parker by one of our foremost writers on jazz and the cultural experience in America, Stanley Crouch. The product of decades of research, including exclusive interviews with peers, collaborators, and family members, KANSAS CITY LIGHTNING reaches back past the legend to reveal Charlie Parker as he emerged from the landscapes—literal and artistic—that he inhabited. It follows Parker from the “freak shows” and “spook breakfasts” of late-night Kansas City, to the segregated union halls of Chicago, and finally to the Harlem ballrooms of New York City. With the musical wisdom of a lifetime jazz scholar, the cultural insights of an indispensable social critic, and the narrative skill of a writer at the height of his powers, Crouch brings Parker back to rich, vivid life—and delivers a book that goes beyond mere biography to become a major cultural event, as rich and evocative as a great novel.


A winner of the MacArthur “Genius” Award, Stanley Crouch has been writing about jazz music and the African American experience for more than forty years. He has twice been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award, for his essay collections Notes of a Hanging Judge (1990) and The All-American Skin Game (1995). His other books include Always in Pursuit (1998), The Artificial White Man (2004), and the novel Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome (2000). He has served, off and on, since 1987 as artistic consultant for jazz programming at Lincoln Center and is a founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He is also executive vice president of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. He has appeared in the Ken Burns documentary Jazz and has appeared as a guest on many radio and television shows. he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a regular columnist for the New York Daily News.


Tom Piazza is the author of eleven books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels City Of Refuge, which won the Willie Morris Award, and My Cold War, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and the essay collection Devil Sent The Rain: Music and Writing in Desperate America. He was a principal writer for the HBO drama series TREME, and he is currently at work on a new novel. A well-known writer on American music as well, he won a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey, and he is a three-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Music Writing. He lives in New Orleans.