In a series of fictional portraits, Geoff Dyer captures the beating heart of jazz, its pathos and lyricism, urgency and self-destruction: Charlie Mingus in New York; Art Pepper in prison; Lester Young in the Alvin; Bud Powell in Paris. 'Drawing on how he hears the music of people like Mingus, Monk, Bud Powell, Art Pepper and Lester Young, Dyer has constructed eight variations like highly concentrated novels, 80 per cent proof swigs of fiction. The result, I think, is brilliant.His attempts to recreate the drug-fogged, music-drenched, reality-melting, racism-crazed insides of the minds of people like Powell, Mingus, Webster and Chet Baker are unnervingly effective. So too, are his pen-portraits of their music .his long postscript on jazz today shows that he can operate as a lucid and catholic jazz critic as well' Miles Kington, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Geoff Dyer was born in 1958. His book BUT BEAUTIFUL: A BOOK ABOUT JAZZ, won the Somerset Maugham Prize & was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys orial Prize. His essays & reviews appear in the INDEPENDENT, NEW STATESMAN & SOCIETY.