Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A break in the flow for Nica

Before continuing with the Anita O'Day series I just started I want to break up the flow by interspersing other topics. Too many posts about any single topic can quickly become boring, and given the number of sub topics on Anita, covering a good many of her albums, I do not want to fall into that trap.

This topic is all about Pannonica de Koenigswarter, A.K.A. Nica or The Jazz Baroness. Her contributions to jazz in the form of supporting it as an art are immeasurable. She may have been the last true patron in the old world sense.

It is unfortunate that she is mainly remembered as the last person to see Charlie Parker alive (Bird died in her living room), as well as the one who took care of Monk during his final years. Even more unfortunate are the rumors that swirl around her relationship with Monk, as well as the fact that the Rothschild family has impounded all of her papers and personal effects. Fortunately there are a few books and a movie that are attempting to set the record straight.

First is her own book, Three Wishes: An Intimate Look at Jazz Greats:

That book is a collection of photos of jazz musicians and their three wishes. It makes for interesting reading, as well as getting lost in the history provided by the photographs. This book is one of the few things the Rothschilds were not able to confiscate after her passing.

Another source is David Kastin's biography, Nica's Dream: The Life and Legend of the Jazz Baroness:

This book is handicapped by the dearth of material that is normally available to researchers. In fact, even Hannah Rothschild encountered roadblocks put up by the family when researching for her book, Baroness: The Search for Nica the Rebellious Rothschild:

At least a third of that book is devoted to Monk, so it spans two areas of interest.

Finally, there is an interesting web site, The Jazz Baroness, and an equally interesting video that discusses Nica:

Enjoy ...

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