Charlie "Bird" Parker was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. In his brief life, Parker created a new sound on the alto saxophone and spearheaded a revolution in harmony and improvisation that pushed popular music from the swing era to bebop and modern jazz.
Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie have been credited with changing the face of jazz in the mid 1940s. They kicked it up a notch, and ushered in an era known as "modern jazz" - which some dubbed "bebop."
Amazingly, Parker was only widely known for about a decade before he died in 1955 at the age of 34. He accomplished great fame while living a self-destructive lifestyle, which included frequent use of controlled substances and consumption of hard liquor. But despite living on the edge, his genius shined through.