In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skillfully evokes the music and the men who shaped modern jazz. Drawing on photos, anecdotes, and, most important, the way he hears the music, Dyer imaginatively reconstructs scenes from the embattled lives of some of the greats: Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonious Monk creating his own private language on the piano. However, music is the driving force of But Beautiful, and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician's style.
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A curious combination of fiction and criticism celebrating primarily the great jazz musicians of the '50s.| Read Full Review of But Beautiful: A Book about Jazz
Rather, he muses about the musicians' personalities and certain episodes in their lives--Lester Young's disastrous stint in the army, Thelonious Monk's inability to communicate with anyone but his wife, Bud Powell's mental breakdown, Chet Baker's drug-induced deterioration, Duke Ellington's endle...| Read Full Review of But Beautiful: A Book about Jazz
And Dyer also provides longer expositions, such as this passage describing Pepper playing his alto sax while sitting in a prison cell: "For a few moments he falters, oblivious to what he is playing, clutching the eight and ninth rungs of the count.Nov 09 2009 | Read Full Review of But Beautiful: A Book about Jazz
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