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Blues for Bird by Martin Gray

With its large print, line drawings, and glossary of terms in the back, Martin Gray’s Blues for Bird looks like a children’s book. But this Tennyson scholar’s contribution to the chorus of Charlie Parker biographies is written entirely in trimeter.

Gray pulls together “everything on Parker that has been published” and his introduction predicts that avid Parker fans will enjoy his incorporation of the parts of much-loved biographies. And they probably will, if they don’t mind such lyrical speedbumps as “Bird died age thirty-four / yet more than fifty looked” and “the music that Bird makes / resolves in all our ears / in gratified response.”

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