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From the Hardcover edition.
“Describing music in a book is a bit like trying to describe color to a blind person; it rarely goes well. The opening stretch of Nicholas Christopher’s latest novel Tiger Rag, however, paints a picture of a jazz recording session so vividly that the reader might want to keep a towel handy for mopping his brow James Brown-style.” —GQ.com
“Nicholas Christopher's new novel, Tiger Rag, is a New Year's treat that lovers of good music and good writing should not deny themselves. . . . Nicholas is a master at building a rich story populated with vivid characters on the bare foundation of historical record. Although no recording of Bolden and his band has yet surfaced, his sideman Willy Cornish, a trombone player, died claiming a recording session took place. Nicholas has imagined a satisfying and engrossing tale about what might have happened. He has fleshed out the lives touched by the wax cylinders that stored three versions of “Tiger Rag.” From the musicians who played with or followed Bolden, to the recording engineer and his assistant at the fateful recording session, Nicholas has created a colourful cast whose stories draw readers into their lives. . . . Nicholas is a poet as well as a novelist, and the book sings, thanks to his compelling descriptions and use of imagery. . . . [C]ompulsively readable.” —The Toronto Star
“Full of outsize charm and drive . . . a moving, page turner of a story that spans a century . . . [P]arallel stories, well-syncopated in Christopher's skilled hands, soon begin to merge, at times in fascinating, unexpected ways. . . . With Tiger Rag, Christopher has reached into jazz history to produce a novel that enriches the Bolden story and is a suspenseful modern drama about a fractured family as well.” —Associated Press
“This book is a threefold success: a compelling family drama in the sections set in the present day, a well-controlled piece of historical fiction in the others, and a worthy tribute to jazz music and all its attendant liveliness and messiness throughout.” —The Daily Beast
“Poet and novelist Christopher mixes fiction with jazz history in this delightful dual narrative. . . . [an] intriguing yarn.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Compelling . . . should appeal to jazz buffs eager to read about Bolden, Bechet, Bunk Johnson, et al., however imagined; to the coterie of readers of Bill Moody’s similarly themed jazz mysteries; and to fans of the talented and prolific Christopher.” —Booklist
“Based on a legend that jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden made a long-lost recording in 1904 New Orleans of a song that came to be know as “Tiger Rag,” Christopher has created a pair of compelling contemporary characters who search for the old Edison cylinder. Dr. Ruby Cardillo is an anesthesiologist who’s taken to wearing only purple after her doctor husband dumps her for a 26-year-old. Her jazz-pianist daughter, Devon, is a recovering addict. Together, they try to uncover the secrets of — and family connections to — the Holy Grail of jazz.” —New York Post, *Required Reading*
Posted February 26, 2013
Posted February 4, 2013
Excellent mix of history and mystery! Well orchestrated! The author welds the pen over several decades without missing a beat. He blends the chapters from one time period to the next, and back again so well you hardly notice the shift--just enough to know exactly where you are in this tale of early jazz masters, and the present day drama. A surprise lurks in this masterful novel, and it works itself in so well. Highly recommend to anyone who desires a good book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.