But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz

But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz

by Geoff Dyer

In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skillfully evokes the music and the men who shaped modern jazz. Drawing on photos, anecdotes, and, most important, the way he hears the music, Dyer imaginatively reconstructs scenes from the embattled

  • Language: English
  • Category: Music
  • Rating: 4.24
  • Pages: 240
  • Publish Date: June 26th 1997 by North Point Press
  • Isbn10: 0865475083
  • Isbn13: 9780865475083

What People Think about "But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz"

Geoff Dyer has written several books, both fiction and non-fiction. (But in his list of references, he does cite source material for much of what could be read as completely invented.) Scenes were intended as commentary either on a piece of music or on the particular qualities of a musician.

Today, as he had expected, he would write on an empty stomach, he would know what it felt like to be a jazz musician, like one of his heroes, only he knew that, tonight, there would be a happy ending. A Jazz Curators Egg For all but the last 30 pages of this book, I was prepared to say that it was the best book I had ever read about music of any description. The second part is a formal essay on Tradition, Innovation and Influence in Jazz Music. If Geoff Dyer had omitted the essay, I would have given the book five stars. However, I will still say that the first part is the best writing I have ever read about music of any description. Geoff Dyers writing forces us to reconsider just how much writing can add value to the experience of music. In trying to do justice to the music he loves, Dyer has created a unique way of writing that is impressionistic and lyrical and inspiring. Just as John Berger opened our eyes to ways of seeing, Dyer opens our minds to ways of writing and, therefore, of reading and listening to and appreciating music. Improvising about Jazz Faced with the desire to write a book about jazz, Dyer had to abandon the techniques of conventional criticism (including metaphors and similes that he had previously used to evoke what he thought was happening) and embrace improvisation. His raw materials werent just recordings of the music, they included other biographies, criticism, journalism and personal interviews with musicians, family and friends. Most importantly, as he was playing the music, he was scrutinizing photos of the musicians. Just Add Some Animation Dyer enhances the experience of listening to the music as well. Dyer creates a sense of music as constant movement. He quotes Charlie Parker: Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdomif you dont live it, it wont come out of your horn. In his essay, Dyer writes equally beautifully about the role of improvisation in jazz: From time to time in his solos a saxophonist may quote from other musicians, but every time he picks up his horn he cannot avoid commenting, automatically and implicitly, even if only through his own inadequacy, on the tradition that has been laid at his feet. It left me wondering whether Dyer hoped that his impressionistic writings would enhance his more seriously critical material by association.

There is a truism about jazz: some like to just hear the songs melody played straight; others, appreciate the improvisation that uses the melody as a jumping off point. Listening to him was like watching someone figit, you felt uncomfortable until you started doing it tooYou had to see Monk to hear his music properly. His body was his instrument and the piano was just a means of getting the sound out of his body at the rate and in the quantities he wanted.His body fills in all the gaps in the music; without seeing him it always sounds like somethings missing but when you see him even piano solos acquire a sound as full as a quartets.

Hinton O escritor inglês Geoff Dyer inicia Mas É Bonito (1991) com a descrição de uma viagem de carro, os passageiros são Duke Ellington (1899 1974), o pendura e Harry Carney (1910 1974), o condutor, uma viatura que já percorreu, talvez um milhão de quilómetros, sempre de concerto para concerto, de cidade para cidade. Mas É Bonito é muito mais do que um livro sobre Jazz em que Geoff Dyer sintetiza admiravelmente além de alguns episódios dos músicos aludidos, mas, simultaneamente, uma forma de arte cuja essência é a improvisação e a espontaneidade, num som único e na evocação de um tempo em que os intérpretes eram dominados pelo desespero, pela autodestruição e pela doença mental, quase sempre associada à dependência do álcool e das drogas, culminando na violência, directa ou indirectamente relacionada com a discriminação e o ódio racial não é por acaso que alguns destes músicos acabaram por viver na Europa. Chet Baker em palco no Birdland - Nova Iorque 1955 - Fotografia Carol Reiff No Prefácio de Mas É Bonito (1991) o escritor inglês Geoff Dyer (n.

Before long I found I had moved away from anything like conventional criticism. Moreover, since even the briefest simile introduces a hint of the fictive, it wasn't long before these metaphors were expanding themselves into episodes and scenes. At the same time, though, these scenes were still intended as commentary either on a piece of music or on the particular qualities of a musician. Some episodes do not have their origins in fact: these wholly invented scenes can be seen as original compositions). Both the subject matter and Dyers writing itself offered glimpses no, more like long, appreciative gazes into the creative process.

The book consists of a series of fictionalized vignettes which reveal the personalities of a few geniuses of jazz: an aging Lester Young at the Alvin Hotel, Thelonious Monk and his wife Nellie in the West Sixties, the vicious beating (and resurrection) of Bud Powell, Ben Webster traveling Europe by train, the ever-angry, explosive Charlie Mingus, Chet Baker of the beautiful and ruined face, and the crazy junkie life of Art Pepper, all seven tied together by the road trip conversations of Duke Ellington and his chauffeur/baritone sax/old friend Harry Carney passing the time on the way to another gig.

In these desperate days of tell-all memoirs, dry scholarly works, and self-help books, Dyer has forged ahead at full speed, writing self-deprecating, smart and funny genre-bending essays and books. Reading it felt like someone embracing me and whispering in my ear, Its okay to have fun, Sarah. Just like Duke Ellingtons Take the Coltrane Or Charles Mingus Open Letter to Duke (see how much I learned about jazz?), Dyers book is a tribute and also a work of art in its own right it steals, echoes, references, riffs, and retells. Those who know a lot about jazz will pick up on many more of the allusions and the hidden quotes while those who dont know much can just sit back and enjoy the music of the prose and learn as they go. And for those readers still itching to know some facts and read some traditional criticism, Dyer attached a 30-page essay to the back of the book. Although the essay is interesting and solidifies much of what youve just read in the body of the book, it seems a bit like an apology for being so whimsical (or, perhaps, something his editor made him add).

- Sciogliete accuratamente le parole di questo libro, in una sera tiepida in cui non avete niente da fare, e immergetevi nella lettura con un sottofondo di musica jazz, a volume medio. E poi ci sono quelli che invece ti fanno il nome di questo libro, o te lo regalano.

He is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; five genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (winner of a 1992 Somerset Maugham Prize, short-listed for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize), The Missing of the Somme, Out of Sheer Rage (a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award), Yoga For People Who Cant Be Bothered To Do It (winner of the 2004 W. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in 2009 he was the recipient of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Best Comic Novel and the GQ Writer of the Year Award (for Jeff in Venice Death in Varanasi).