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This is a wonderful book Although it takes its time starting out, much like a jazz performance it gains momentum as it develops. Wesley Brown, the author, reads it well, especially when rendering some really inventive repartee and banter. There’s a lot of love in this book, and as an added delight there is no violence or cruelty. Just wit, brilliance and a good story.
It is well plotted. Brown’s use of fictional characters, each with his/her own story, as they ease their way into the jazz world is delicately executed and very effective. It took me awhile to realize what was going on and when I did, I just started all over with a big smile on my face, so to speak, just to see how Wesley Brown wove his web. I do this often with books tha realy grab me. I hate for them to end.
The above mentioned repartee and banter are a big part of this amazing endeavor. I particulary enjoyed the exchange of smart talk between Charlie McCarthy and Coleman Hawkins, as Edgar Bergen stands idly by absorbing verbal body blows from Charlie McCarthy. Coleman Hawkins not only holds his own, with the formidable Charlie, but forms a valued alliance with him and his long suffering sparring partner, E. Bergen.
Great exchanges also, between Billie Holliday and Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gilespie, and everybody. And last but not least; the intimate relationship between the musician and his instrument; Dexter cradling his sax against his body as he might a child.
The musicians while hugely competitive are at the same time hugely appreciative of eachother’s talents and fully aware of their alliance and reliance on eachother. The dextrous mix of fact and fiction adds much. Beautiful music is made here. I highly recommend this book.
The author reads with authenticity, creativity and passion like the jazz solos he writes about. If you want to get to know Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon, Ella Fitzgerald and other jazz greats intimately like friends this audio is a good place to start.