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Chan Woods
Born Beverly Dolores Berg[1]
29 June 1925
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died 9 September 1999 (aged 74)
Étampes, France
Spouse(s) Charlie Parker; Phil Woods

Chan Woods (born Beverly Dolores Berg, 29 June 1925 [2], New York City, New York; died 9 September 1999, Étampes, France) was best known as Chan Parker, common-law wife of jazz legend Charlie Parker.

Woods, of partial Jewish ancestry, was a dancer and jazz enthusiast. She met Parker in the mid-'40s, when she was 18, but their friendship did not become romantic until a few years later. As it developed, their relationship had to surmount several obstacles, not the least of which were Charlie's frequently ungovernable drug and alcohol abuse, and the simple fact of sharing love across a racial divide that the society of the era was hugely invested in maintaining. Woods complained that taxis would not pick Parker up because of his race, and mentioned that the two of them often attracted stares because their relationship was interracial. Woods indicated in her memoirs that Parker protected her, to a degree, from both these problems. There were other strains as well. Their relationship was dealt a severe blow with death of their daughter Pree, a year and a week before Charlie Parker's own death.[3]

After Parker's death in 1955, Chan married saxophonist Phil Woods and relocated to France, where she spent much of the rest of her life. In her later years, she went on to write a memoir titled My Life in E-Flat[4], which discusses her life with Charlie Parker. It was published in 1999, the year of her death.

References

  1. ^ Chan Parker
  2. ^ [1] Social Security Death Index
  3. ^ PBS interview
  4. ^ ISBN 1570032459

External links


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