The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

Clint Eastwood & Jazz (p2)

In Bird, Clint Eastwood brought to the screen the life of jazz legend, Charlie "Yardbird" Parker.  The first half-hour of the film felt like a Parker riff as it switched back and forth between different time periods in his life. It's not obscure art house film for a narrow audience though.  Rather, it is a fitting representation of this man's frenzied life, honestly portraying the addictions that destroyed him.  Parker hated what drugs had done to his life but felt entangled by his habit and returned to them for solace during difficult times, such as the death of his daughter.Bird


A side benefit of the film is how Eastwood shows Parker's interaction with other jazz greats. We get to see the paradox between Bird and Dizzy Gillespie as well as little known musician Red Rodney.  A comical moment came when the band traveled to the deep south and to not appear as an integrated band they nicknamed Rodney, Albino Red, to explain his light skin.

In the end, it's a sad movie.  Parker died watching TV.  The coroner said he looked 60 yrs. old.  Little did he know that he was only 34.

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Heather Goodman

posted November 17, 2008 at 11:41 am

Thanks for the review. I added it to my blockbuster queue.
Incidentally, have you read the book The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts? I’ve been reading the essays bit by bit. Chapter three is an essay by Bruce Ellis Benson called “Call Forwarding: Improvising the Response to the Call of Beauty” (revolving, obviously, around jazz as a model). If you’ve read it, I’d love to get your thoughts.

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posted November 19, 2008 at 10:32 am

Thanks for the comment on my blog-Life as We Know It. I’m still finding my way around your site..will comment back later.

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