Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three Wishes is a Marvelous Look at Jazz

Today, I was at Barnes & Noble, in downtown Washington DC, and browsing the jazz and blues books section when I come across a book, Three Wishes: An Intimate Look at Jazz Greats. I pick it up skim through it and then purchased it. It is published by Abrams Image and the credits have it compiled and photographed by Pannonica de Koenigswarter with a forward by Gary Giddins and an Introduction by Nadine de Koenigswarter, granddaughter of Pannonica. Pannonica is better known as Nica, the Baronness who befriended so many jazz musicians for such a long period of time. She was the person in whose apartment Charlie Parker died. Later, when she purchased a house in New Jersey, many jazz musicians visited or stayed with her. In 1957, she helped Thelonious Monk regain his caabaret license and also campaigned for its elimination which occurred when John Lindsay was elected Mayor. Monk had encouraged her to buy a house and she did ,which was named the Cathouse, and Monk himself moved there with his family in 1973, staying there until he passed. Others moved in or stayed for a period.

What the book compiles is the answers of about 300 jazz musicians to what three wishes in life they had. The text consists of their answers. Included are countless photographs of jazz legends from Monk, Barry Harris, Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins, Art Blakey, Bud Powell, Sonny Clark John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Mary Lou Williams, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and countless others. Most of her photos were taken with a Polaroid camera, and several of the images are from worn photos, but the pictures, like their words, speak to us decades later. Some of informal, intimate images of them at the house, others sghow them perforing at the Cathouse. This is a book one can easily get lost with for days and hopefully should be available at your better book store or from the large internet retailers.

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