Jam by Alan Goldsher

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Everybody knows someone like James Justus.

James is a wonderboy, that guy who can do anything he sets his mind to—all with seemingly little effort. Good looks, great personality, big heart, amazing artistic instincts, the works. You’d be hard pressed to find a chink in his armor.

Everybody knows someone like Frank Craft. Frank is the eternal outsider, the resolute sort whose off-center goals compel him to howl against the prevailing winds. He’s not your prototypical “natural,” but his determination more than compensates. He’ll work his hindquarters off to realize his dreams, whatever they might be.

James Justus and Frank Craft are friends. Good friends.

James Justus and Frank Craft are also musicians. Great musicians.

James is the definition of a prodigy. With little-to-no training, he’s mastered the entire woodwind family, trumpet, trombone, guitar, and piano. The quantity and quality of his talent is almost frightening.

Conversely, Frank is, well, Frank—-he’s a superb drummer, but has to constantly fight his own limbs to achieve the perfection he so desires. But driven by an obsessive love for jazz-—and an abiding love for his high school dreamgirl Sara Rogers—-Frank Craft molds himself into one helluva percussionist.

After a rocky start, James and Frank’s quartet HoverCraft develops a unique bebop-meets-rock style that enraptures their fellow Chicagoians, and attracts the attention of record industry maven Mitch Busey. After the band signs their major label recording contract, Busey renames them Jam, then immediately throws them into the recording studio, where they wax an album highlighted by the stalwart single, “Guess What.”

As “Guess What” begins its steady climb up the charts, Jam takes to the road, where their life becomes a blur of sold-out shows, lustful and worshipful listeners, interminable bus rides, power struggles, petty arguments…and head-spinningly brilliant music. James, the band’s frontman, is forced to deal with the fallout of sudden adulation, while Frank, the band’s heart and backbone, is forced to deal with James’ expanding ego—-an ego that threatens to tear apart both the band and their friendship.

An internationally recognized musician, a music industry veteran, and a respected music journalist, Alan Goldsher has delivered an authentic, compelling, poignant novel peppered with insider insights about the enigmatic and fascinating music business. “Jam” is a passionate tale of money-hungry musicians, sleazy record companies, over-adoring fans, the majesty of jazz, and ultimately, a creative soul who is true to himself and to his art.


About Alan Goldsher

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Published January 1, 2002 by Permanent Pr Pub Co. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Upbeat and hip, bassist/journalist Goldsher’s debut features a pair of jazz kids who grow up talented and tight, only to be undone by the big bad music business after crossing over and rocketing to the top of the pop charts.

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Publishers Weekly

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Goldsher makes his debut with a musical buddy novel that traces the path of a Chicago drummer named Frank Craft, who forms a successful group with his childhood best friend, a talented multi-instrumentalist named James Justus.

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