on 3 June 2011
I must admit to being a very keen fan of Peter King having possessed an alto saxophone for 62 years and struggled to get even one third of the way to his fluency or creativeness on the instrument as a tool of modern jazz. Peter, on the other hand has been a world class performer since his middle teens. But as this auto-biography demonstrates excellence secures no automatic reward - our musical hero has been impoverished for most of his life. It is a long, detailed, honest and sad story with just occasional glimmers of hope and success. I found the book to be a riveting read as I had "grown up" knowing of and listening to most of the characters mentioned. But in the final analysis Peter has overcome both health and family tragedies to be able to claim his position as one of the finest jazz alto players in Western Europe - it is just tragic that in the UK we have no mechanism for rewarding such talent.
on 12 May 2011
Peter King has long been one of the finest jazz saxophone players in the UK ( and beyond). An intelligent and sensitive man, he has now written an astonishingly candid and deeply fascinating autobiography that deserves to rank with the best autobiographies written by a musician of any kind. It is a remarkable history of the highs and lows of the British jazz scene of the past fifty years. More than an autobiography, it's an extremely important social and historical record. Highly recommended!
on 26 April 2013
I am a jazz fan and have been listening to Peter King for perhaps 50 years - with long breaks between hearing him. I have often been disappointed that he has not, for years at a time, been appearing anywhere accesible to me, except on his recordings.
This book explains why - in describing in very candid detail the sad and addicted life he has led.
I find it amazing that he could, during such times, produce such brilliant music.
I am glad that I bought and read the book but saddened to recognise how so much of his life was wasted.
It was, as others have said, fun reading the narratives and background to the whole UK modern jazz scene and , in that respect, added a lot to my knowledge as well as stirring a lot of good memories.
Thank you, Peter, for taking the time to put the book together and sharing it with us all.
on 25 January 2016
A wonderful book. Bares all in a dignified way. A top jazz player (up there with Charlie Parker) yet so modest. It was tough for many acomplished musicians to eke out a living when the Beatles hit the scene. The drugs, the despair, the highs and the lows are all told so honestly and movingly. I particularly enjoyed his memories of Tubby Hayes and the 'insider' track on the importance of a good rhythm section. A first class read delivered effortlessly on my Kindle