Anyway, for those who enjoy a good read, and like to get into the head of a character, Bolden has been painted in gruesome colors by Ondaatje, a complex character driven by forces and hungers he little understood or controlled, and a prey to a lot of weaknesses : his life seems pretty close to that of a typical rocker, rather than a serious jazzman somehow. There’s a dark world there, in this book, which has been lent an eerie shade by the author who has written it in a unique style. He narrates the story, without any quotes, and though that does give rise to a bit of confusion now and then, on the whole the unique idea has lent the story a life all its own. A compulsive read indeed.
Books on Jazz tend to be scholarly essays by specialists, or historical documents by others –and Buddy Bolden’s story, entitled rather enticingly Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje, seems to stand out like an oasis in a desert, or a blue lagoon island in mid-ocean. If anyone has read similar books based on the life-stories of jazzmen, you know where to send an e-mail –I shall be much obliged for the bits of information.
Talking of books, no one seems to have written a book on “how to develop a taste in jazz...” –that’s one question which pops at me whenever someone, especially the adolescent crowd, learns that I listen to jazz. I have half a mind to write one, though of course some intrepid publishing house would be first required to support my venture. It’s so easy to lose a piping little voice in the tower of Babel that the music industry seems to have turned into. Or perhaps an online course, a short course on what records to listen to and how to start liking jazz –encompassing all the major styles right from straight-ahead jazz to free jazz to hard bop to funk to jazz rock to avant-garde via the swing era and Dixieland, and of course, all shades of Blues?
I think I would love to do that. Do comment, readers, feel free to have your say. I generally reply to every e-mail that comes my way... within a day or two, usually.
Cheerio then, so long... take care and listen to more jazz. Right now I seem to be stuck with Ballads by John Coltrane , and there’s a profusion of lyrical beauty, -the haunting kind that pervades this CD to such an extent that I have to suspend my multitasking habits and force myself to listen to the sheer genius –with total focus. It lifts my soul, it lends wings to my spirit, every pore in my skin sprouts a tongue and poems drift around from these like birds of paradise in some rain forest, where man has never yet stepped in... Do give this marvelous record a listen, if you can. It’s amazing. It’s worth a subconscious chat.
Crossing the Waters Wide: Charles Lloyd's Latest Musical Journey