I am sympathetic with Brody and as powerful as the movie is, it is a poor representation of jazz and the jazz community including its characterization of Charlie Parker who the the Simmon's character Fletcher cites as justification for his abuse. Brody writes, Fletcher justifies his behavior with repeated reference to a long-repeated anecdote about Charlie Parker...In Fletcher’s telling, Parker played so badly that Jones threw a cymbal at his head, nearly decapitating him. After that humiliation and intimidation, Parker went home and practiced so long and so hard that he came back a year later and made history with his solo.
What the movie gets wrong is that the musician isolates himself. As Brody correctly adds in marked contrast to the protagonist of the movie, Here’s what Parker didn’t do in the intervening year: sit alone in his room and work on making his fingers go faster. He played music, thought music, lived music. In “Whiplash,” the young musicians don’t play much music. Andrew isn’t in a band or a combo, doesn’t get together with his fellow-students and jam—not in a park, not in a subway station, not in a café, not even in a basement. He doesn’t study music theory, not alone and not (as Parker did) with his peers.
Unfortunately, the popularity of Whiplash will give the viewer a skewed view of jazz. Brody concludes by writing that the movie isn’t “about” jazz; it’s “about” abuse of power.
Here is a good interview with the real life Charlie Parker, the great alto sax player, who died much too young at 34. Certainly, no saint but a huge influence and in this interview sounds very warm, kind, and generous.