Besides colorful and expressive music, jazz greats such as Lester Young, Thelonius Monk and Duke Ellington led equally colorful, albeit self-destructive, lives. Through this collection of essays, Geoff Dyer recounts some of the more vivid episodes and events these personalities engaged in and illuminates unique aspects of their character that contributed to their music. He also sheds light on the oppression of working within an atmosphere of race-alienation, a hardship that led many to abuse alcohol and drugs, and find solace only in their incredible music.
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In this text Geoff Dyer captures the beating heart of jazz. In a series of fictional portraits he examines its pathos and lyricism, urgency and self-destruction. Originally published: London: Jonathan Cape, 1991.