One of the pioneers of bebop, along with
He began playing piano at age five, and by age 10, he could imitate
He was severely beaten by the police while visiting Philadelphia at the age of 20, an incident that left him incoherent and mentally unstable. He was institutionalized several times throughout his life, including in 1947, during which he was given electroconvulsive therapy, and again in 1951, following an arrest for marijuana possession.
His father was a stride Pianist who recognized his son's talents early on and enrolled him in classical-piano lessons.
He drew great inspiration from his colleague and fellow Pianist Thelonious Monk.