Bird The year: 1946. The event: Oakland's "Jazz at the Philharmonic." The music streaked into the unknown, daring listeners to grab hold and fly there, too. On stage was the creator of those new sounds: Charles "Yardbird" Parker. In the crowd was the 16-year-old who would someday bring Parker's extraordinary story to the screen: Clint Eastwood. "Americans don't have any original art except Western movies and jazz," observes Eastwood. Movie fans, of course, know that few heroes sit as tall in the saddles as Eastwood. Now the legendary America icon, whose Dirty Harry films have been praised for their jazz scores, ventures deeper into that other original American art. Eastwood produces and directs Bird, a film burnished with the magic of that 1946 concert encounter between legend and future legend and honored with an Academy Award for Best Sound in its spellbinding recreation of a man and his music. Like jazz itself, Bird rings with counterpoints and embellishments. Past and future overlap as the film explores Yardbird's soaring skill and destructive excesses. Forest Walker (Good Morning Vietnam, The Color of Money), in his Cannes Film Festival Best Actor performance, is a candle ablaze at both ends as Parker. Diane Venora (Wolfen, Ironweed, F/X) shares that glorious light, winning the New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actress Award for her portrayal of steadfast wife Chan Parker. For Bird's wall-to-wall-to-everywhere digitally-processed Surround Stereo soundtrack, Eastwood went to the source: Parker's recordings (including cuts never before released). Backgrounds were electronically eliminated. These parker "solos" were then rerecorded with accompaniment by modern musicians attuned to Yardbird's bold improvisations. It's "like Bird was in the studio," says music supervisor Lennie Niehaus. He's elsewhere, too. That's why jazz buffs and now film fans have a saying 'Bird liv
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