Imagining the Fusion of Man and Melody

Geoff Dyer: But Beautiful. A Book about Jazz
ISBN 978-0-85786-402-2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ What a sad book this is. What a wonderful book this is. Geoff Dyer is imagining key moments in the life of the world’s most famous jazz musicians. Lester Young, Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell… Do you realize that I love jazz almost as much as I love classical music? On the eight day, God created jazz – music that encapsulates all the joys and even more all the sufferings of this world. All God had created before. God was a musician. Johann Sebastian Bach knew it. Charlie Parker knew it.

Dyer’s book speaks about proud and broken men, about misery, drug abuse, racism, loneliness, violence and perpetual erring. The corollary of musical genius, unbound creativity, fearless improvisations, innate harmony, the intense fusion of man and melody, of man and instrument. His approach to these musicians and their indiviual style is very personal: He recounts their lives the way they tell it to him through their music. A post-humous reconstruction. Artificial, but faithful. It’s a tool from my own toolbox I sometimes try in my posts about classical music and its composers, past and present. With less success than Dyer, but him doing it, validates the idea.

I am writing this at an airport on a day most things went wrong. A missed flight, a lost afternoon, a long wait for an alternative flight, a late night arrival with all the associated hassle. But. But I had this book with me, Wifi access, sufficiant battery capacity and storage memory on my smart phone. Ben Webster, Charles, Mingus, Chet Baker and and many more made me happy that afternoon. Music as a lifeline… It’s not the first time I experience this. Great consolation is to be found in the musical testimony of these man, and the missed plane is quickly forgotten.

Read the book! And listen to Thelonious Monk’s recording “Misterioso”! There’s a song called “In Walked Bud”. Bud like in Bud Powell. Because this book is also about true love and true friendship.