Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars An indelible impression of jazz soul..., 8 Sep 2013
This review is from: But Beautiful (Paperback)
So difficult to review this book - the likes of which I've never read before. I shan't attempt to in all honesty. Suffice to say, Geoff Dyer's writing is gripping, heartfelt, and all too believable. Which is pretty much all that matters given the subject matter - imagined portraits of the equally troubled and gifted musicians he portrays - Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Ben Webster, Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, and Art Pepper. I finished each chapter with an indelible impression of the soul of each of these men.

It matters not if you do or don't know the music of each artist covered, though you may want to refer to the select discography at the back. Dyer bases each vignette on known histories, conversations, photographs, newspaper clippings, all of which he references in the appendix. Interweaved between each story is the very appealing construction of an imagined Duke Ellington on the road between gigs, alone with his driver Harry, as he crosses the American night.

Following the main part of the book is an extended essay on the artistic course and ongoing direction of jazz music which I found a satisfying accompaniment to the earlier chapters. Recommended for all, and a must for anybody with a love of Jazz.
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