157

Bird Lives!

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Bird Lives! Bird Lives!

Bill Moody
Walker and Company, 1999
ISBN 0-8027-3327-1

Those who count themselves mystery buffs as well as jazz fans will find double pleasure in Bird Lives!, the latest outing of author Bill Moody's jazz pianist/reluctant sleuth, Evan Horne.

Horne lives in a noirish but contemporary Los Angeles. The fiction of Horne's life is colored with touches of reality. He plays at a real club, the Jazz Bakery, and drops real names: Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Shelley Manne, Phil Woods, etc.

A drummer who attended Berklee and played behind Junior Mance and Jimmy Rushing, Moody knows intimately what he's writing about. Those who love jazz will enjoy seeing how he weaves these references into his fiction.

While the jazz part of Horne's life is quite believable and realistic, the sleuthing part is harder to believe. The plot of Bird Lives! centers on the serial killings of some Kenny G-like smooth jazz musicians. The deaths coincide with the anniversaries of significant events in classic jazz, i.e. the death of Charles Mingus, Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool recordings, etc. I immediately suspected Wynton Marsalis.

Anyway, it's pretty silly stuff, but sort of fun. Probably even more fun if you love mysteries, which admittedly aren't my thing. The earlier Horne books have earned excellent reviews in The New York Times Book Review and other publications, so it's a good bet that jazz fans who take their Tony Hillerman with a dash of Bill Evans will enjoy them.


Shop

More Articles

Read "Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight" Book Reviews Stan Levey: Jazz Heavyweight
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 24, 2016
Read "Kickback City: Deluxe Edition" Book Reviews Kickback City: Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie" Book Reviews Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Dafnis Prieto: A World Of Rhythmic Possibilities" Book Reviews Dafnis Prieto: A World Of Rhythmic Possibilities
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia" Book Reviews How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!