Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz by Geoff…

But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz (1991)

by Geoff Dyer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
360630,197 (4.26)12
  1. 00
    Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje (Polaris-)
    Polaris-: Both sensitively explore the imagined possibilities behind what facts are known. Their authors both manage to convey an essence of jazz - the agony and the ecstasy.
  2. 00
    The Horn by John Clellon Holmes (Polaris-)
  3. 00
    As Though I Had Wings by Chet Baker (Polaris-)
  4. 00
    Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper by Art Pepper (Polaris-)
    Polaris-: Arguably the greatest musical autobiography around, if Dyer's chapter on Pepper piqued your interest - you must read this excellent book.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Well-written, and most likely, an important book on jazz. Just not my cup of tea. I prefer my Geoff Dyer books to have at the forefront his personality. I also desire his wanton perversions and idiosyncrasies to be involved with the text, even as painful and disgusting as they sometimes are. This book was more a clean, academic study of an art form that I would much rather listen to than read about. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
A very special book about jazz.

Geoff Dyer has done extensive research of the be-bop giants: Ellington, Monk, Coltrane, Mingus, Bird, Lester Young, Bud Powell, Chet Baker and Art Pepper.

Each giant went through his own mania and the often gypsy life they lived is depicted in novelistic fashion.

Following these snapshots there is an extended essay about the music they played.

If you like jazz you will love this special book. ( )
  berthirsch | Jan 28, 2014 |
Beautiful writing. Jazz lovers would probably like this book a lot. ( )
  pengvini | Oct 20, 2013 |
Pleasant imagery and symbolism, but I was kind of duped by the "A Book About Jazz" part. Loved the book and what it sets out to do but would like more biography like the Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington sections. Perhaps I'm letting preconceived notions ruin a just reading. ( )
  TJWilson | Mar 29, 2013 |
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. ( )
  Polaris- | Jan 1, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0865475083, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:10 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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.

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
49 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.26)
2 2
3 10
3.5 4
4 22
4.5 1
5 35

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,832,965 books! | Top bar: Always visible