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Book Reviews

Jazz and Death: Medical Profiles of Jazz Greats

By Published: March 8, 2004
Substance use can affect performance in another way. Long term use has a desiccating effect on ones talent that may manifest in two ways. The first is it can concentrate a musician?s talent into a type of flawed perfection, beauty that is kind of ruined. The best examples of this are the late recordings of Billie Holiday?Lady In Satin (Sony 86697, 1958) and Songs for Distingué Œovers (Verve 815055, 1956), in particular. The second manifestation is when substance abuse leaves the musician a mere shell and his/her music a husk. This certainly applies to Chet Baker. In any consideration, I am unsure that true creativity and the propensity for substance abuse are significantly linked, as there exists many examples of "clean" musicians who contributed much to art. Not matter, it is a provocative thought that should be revisited from time to time, like this interesting and problematic little book.


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