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Jazz up the blue moment

SNS | New Delhi |

It's International Jazz Day today. With the passing of the years, Jazz has evolved, swaying smoothly through quaint corners and high places, through different cultures and countries. While some jazz greats are still alive, some are gone. But their music lives on high above the din of fusion and remix. And, as the music plays on through the streets of New Orleans to the cafes of Boston and beyond, grab some books on jazz.

Jazz, since its inception in the 1930s, has not just ruled the roots of the music scene but also permeated into other important creative field – writing. Many great writers have incorporated the essence of Jazz in their famous works. Murakami, for example, surprises his readers by introducing rural Japanese characters who recognise every Jazz song from the cafes in America.

If you are a true(blue!) Jazz fan, here are the works that you should read:

Jazz by Toni Morrison- The name explains it all. Jazz, written by the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison, Jazz is set on the backdrop of a passionate black American life in Harlem. Jazz plays around the themes of famous saxophonist Charlie Parker and mirrors Jazz music with the characters improvising solo compositions.

The Blue Moment by Richard Williams – The book is centred on Miles Davis’s seminal album Kind of Blue and how the album revolutionised music in the twentieth century. For many who started their affair with Jazz with Kind of Blue, this book is like an indulgence into pure Jazz literature and an affirmation of their faith in Miles Davis.

The Book of Harlan by Bernice L McFadden – A story revolving around the colourful days of Harlem, The Book of Harlem features all the famous Jazz artists of the 1930’s including Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. One of the reasons the book is remembered is because The Washington Post called it ‘simply miraculous’. The story revolves a piano teacher and husband, who inherit some and take their son to New York to live with musicians, who turn out to be famous blues artists of that time.

Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (Louis Armstrong)- Written by, perhaps, one of the greatest Jazz artists of all times, Satchmo reveals the life and times of Louis Armstrong in New Orleans, the land of Rhythm and Blues. The story takes us through the legend’s tough childhood and the local environment, which shaped much of his music in the later years.

All of Murakami’s books- Probably one of the biggest fans of Jazz, majority of Murakami’s characters are Jazz fans. Be it Toru Okada of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Aomame of 1984, his characters tend not just to be listeners but also Jazz aficionados. Not just through novels, Murakami is known to add Jazz lovers to a lot of his short stories, too. Murakami is himself a Jazz fan and owns a Jazz café called Peter Cat.