Charlie Parker on his favorite composer, Bela Bartók

There is a persistent myth of musical creatio ex nihilo, that great musicians arise from nothing without training or influences. It's a very romantic idea that arose in the 19th century. Of course great musicianship is instead the result of craftmanship and intense hard work. Charlie Parker being a case in point, a genius who listened widely and without prejudice but is more popularly perceived to have sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus.

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