Charlie Parker was an alto saxophonist and composer, variously called "Charlie," "Bird," and "Yardbird." An undisputed genius, with colleagues such as trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk, and drummer Kenny Clark, Parker led jazz in new directions with the creation of bebop. Bop's ragged, rhythmically erratic, and harmonically extended style exerted enormous influence on jazz musicians. For this, Parker is recognized as one of the jazz greats. At fifteen, with two years professional experience, Parker quit classes for a full-time career as a musician. He played with leaders Jay McShann, Earl Hines, Billy Eckstine, and Dizzy Gillespie.