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Young Man with a Horn by Dorothy Baker
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Young Man with a Horn (1938)

by Dorothy Baker

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I have completed Young Man With a Horn by Dorothy Baker and loved the way it was written, the storyline; just everything about this book. I found it to be quite marvelous. I do think that one would possibly have to like music and understand obsessions to perhaps not be bored. Reading it is rather like listening to Miles Davis, Gorden Dexter, Chet Baker & others of their caliber. I absolutely loved it.
The storyline is about a youngster named Rick Martin, who in just passing by pawn shops and seeing the instruments becomes enamoured by them and he stops daily and looks by the hour at these instruments and imagines playing them. He pulls a tune out of his head and imagines playing; what notes he would pull, how long he would hold them, etc. He teaches himself to play the trumpet and the piano in this manner. The book is only biographical to his music. The remainder of his story is fictional. He becomes a wonderful musician and is quite recognized by like musicians.
I know my description of this book does it nowhere the credit it deserves. It is a wonderful, humorous & yet sad story with extraordinary characters.
This was a five star read for me and I KNOW that I will read it again and probably again, as I have Of Lena Geyer. Young Man With a Horn is a wonderful book and I truly loved it. My best read of 2012 thus far. ( )
3 vote rainpebble | Mar 13, 2012 |
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The inspiration for the writing of this book has been the music, but not the life, of a great musician, Leon (Bix) Beiderbecke, who died in the year 1931. The characters and events of the story are entirely fictitious and do not refer to real musicians, living or dead, or to actual happenings.
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To Raymond Branson Dodds and Alice Grady Dodds
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What I'm going to do is to write off the story of Rick Martin's life, now that it's all over, now that Rick is washed up and gone, as they say, to his rest.
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Dorothy Baker's Young Man with a Horn is widely regarded as the first jazz novel, and it courses with the verve and swing of the music that defined an era. From the beginning, Rick Martin loved music and the music loved him.

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An edition of this book was published by NYRB Classics.

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