“Jazz was about making your own sound, finding a way to be different from everybody else, never playing the same thing two nights running”
Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonius Monk creating his own private language on the piano…
In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skilfully evokes the embattled lives of the players who shaped modern jazz. He draws on photos and anecdotes, but music is the driving force of But Beautiful and Dyer brings it to life in luminescent and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician’s style.
“Remarkable…there can be few books on jazz written with such tenderness and care.”
times Literary Supplement
See more reviews
”But Beautiful is just that. A moving and highly original tribute to Black American Music.”
“As intricate a mixture of biographical essay and make-believe as is likely to be written.”
new York Times
“The only book about jazz that i have recommended to my friends. It is a little gem.”
Geoff Dyer is the author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and three previous novels, as well as nine non-fiction books. Dyer has won the Somerset Maugham Prize, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, a Lannan Literary Award, the International Center of Photography’s 2006 Infinity Award for writing on photography and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ E.M. Forster Award. In 2009 he was named GQ’s Writer of the Year. He won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2012 and was a finalist in 1998. In 2015 he received a Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he is Writer in Residence at the University of Southern California.