Nica's Dream: The Life and Legend of the Jazz Baronessby David Kastin
Praise for Nica’s Dream:
“Finally! Nica’s story told in Technicolor, with the grandeur to match her own. David Kastin penetrates the myths and legends about the Jazz Baroness. In doing so, he gives us a stunning cultural biography of New York City and a riveting portrait of one of the most fascinating figures of the/em>… See more details below
Praise for Nica’s Dream:
“Finally! Nica’s story told in Technicolor, with the grandeur to match her own. David Kastin penetrates the myths and legends about the Jazz Baroness. In doing so, he gives us a stunning cultural biography of New York City and a riveting portrait of one of the most fascinating figures of the twentieth century. Bravo!”—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
“With a journalist’s dedication to research and a storyteller’s passion for historical context, Kastin relates the most unusual life of Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswater—the woman who left behind a family and a fortune to dedicate herself to the maestri of modern jazz.”—Ashley Kahn, author of The House that Trane Built
“The Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter was a cultural bridge and source of understanding for an enormously important generation of jazz musicians. This book is a must-read.”—T. S. Monk
“David Kastin has written the definitive biography of one of the most elusive, beguiling, and pivotal personalities in twentieth-century music. The story of Pannonica is essential reading for all fans of art, culture, and jazz.”—Robert Kraft, president, Fox Music Inc.
“Nica’s Dream is a brilliant and incisive addition to the history of jazz. The Baroness Nica is portrayed in such a truthful fashion that those of us blessed to have known her now can introduce her to anyone by giving them a copy of this outstanding biography. Nica’s Dream reads like a picaresque novel. But it’s all true.”—David Amram, American composer, musician, and author
“A stunning biography of Monk’s patron. What a story!” —Phil Schaap, curator and jazz historian, WKCR
Music historian and educator Kastin (I Hear America Singing: An Introduction to Popular Music, 2001)narrates the life of Kathleen Annie Pannonica (Nica) Rothschild (1913–1988), an heiress who fell in love with American jazz and soon became a sort of fairy godmother to some of the form's greatest names, principally Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.
The author begins with the most controversial moment in Nica's life: the shocking death in 1955 of Parker, 34, in her New York hotel room. The event propelled her onto the front pages and raised many eyebrows (including, respectfully, Kastin's, who doubts Nica had sexual relations with her musician friends). The author is stymied throughout by the reluctance of Nica's children to grant interviews—or even to permit access to their mother's rich archive of recordings and papers. But he goes with what he has, which is considerable. Kastin chronicles the rise of the Rothschilds, Nica's family, her marriage, notable service in World War II, motherhood, divorce and her absolute devotion to jazz—and to the many musicians she befriended and subsidized. Night after night, she parked her Rolls (later, a Bentley) outside the clubs; she opened her hotel rooms and (later) her house to all-night jam sessions; she helped rescue Monk from oblivion, saw him enjoy a long period of soaring popularity, endured and supported him during his various psychological crises and allowed him to board for protracted times with her. Along the way, Kastin introduces us to just about every major figure in American jazz (Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Art Blakey et al.)—and a few notable fans as well (Norman Mailer and Leonard Bernstein, among others).
Though this is putatively Nica's story, neither the author nor readers can long avert attention from mesmerizing Monk and the other Olympians of bebop.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- NOOK Book
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- 1 MB
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