1929: A Novel of the Jazz Age

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Counterpoint Press, 2004 - Fiction - 390 pages
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A rip-roaring, entertaining image of a bygone era that deserves Pulitzer consideration. - Kirkus Reviews . By 1929, the brief, brilliant career of Bix Beiderbecke--self-taught cornetist, pianist, and composer--had already become legend. From the summer of '26 at Hudson Lake, Indiana, when his genius blazed forth with a strange, doomed incandescence, Bix's career tragically reflected the chaotic impulses of a country suddenly awash in wealth, power, and a profound cynicism. Shy, elusive, inarticulate, Bix was beloved by both the raccoon-coated campus crowd and the men who nightly played alongside him. He is still celebrated in a yearly festival in his hometown of Davenport, Iowa.And that is where the novel begins, Davenport and the Bix Fest. a Capone-controlled nightclub in 1926; the grueling cross-country to urs with Paul Whiteman's Symphonic Jazz orchestra; the disastrous Whiteman trip to California to make the first all-color talkie musical; the stock market crash of 1929 that finds Bix in an asylum, victim of the era's signature product, bootleg gin; and finally, Bix's dying efforts to combine his piano compositions into a suite that would be the pinnacle of his life's work and his evocation of his time and place.Colored by some of the age's most popular characters--Maurice Ravel, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Clara Bow-- 1929 brilliantly illuminates a period in history, personified in the gifted, compelling, and melancholy figure of Bix Beiderbecke.

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1929: A Novel of the Jazz Age

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The short, brilliant life of jazz legend Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, in a yeasty first novel by the veteran poet and nonfiction author (The Culture of Hope, 1995, etc.).1929 is a richly detailed story of ... Read full review


User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Turner, the author or editor of 13 nonfiction works, uses jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke's brief (1903-31) but celebrated life as a frame for this richly atmospheric novel of Chicago during the ... Read full review

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