Selected Bibliography of Jazz & Fiction

Bart Schneider: "It's an honor to write about some of the jazz musicians I love .&nbps;. . It isn't as difficult to write about jazz as it is to play it, but it is a challenge to try to capture in words some of the sound and spirit and emotion of the music."

Some readers might say anything written about jazz is a fiction, including such quasi-autobiographical works as Miles, The Autobiography (written with Quincy Troupe), Lady Sings the Blues by Billy Holiday with William Dufty, Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus, and the transcripts of Jelly Roll Morton's monologues in Mister Jelly Roll by Alan Lomax. The following works, though, are proud conjunctions of the two forms.

By Re: Jazz & Fiction panelists, and others

The Bear Comes Home, Rafi Zabor (Norton)
But not before jamming with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and recording with Billy Hart and Charlie Haden

Blue Bossa, Bart Schneider (Viking)
An aging matinee idol-trumpeter/vocalist copes with aging and changing relationships

Solo Hand, Bill Moody (Walker Publishing Co., Dell)
The first Evan Horne mystery: a hand-damaged pianist delves into a recording company scam for the "King of Soul."
Death of a Tenor Man, Bill Moody (Walker & Co.)
What really happened to Wardell Gray?
The Sound of the Trumpet, Bill Moody (Walker & Co.)
Could an unheard Clifford Brown tape be a murder motive?

Blues and Trouble, Tom Piazza (St. Martin's Press)
12 stories, ridden through with themes and structures of blues, country and jazz -- including the provocative "A Servant of Culture"

Reading Jazz, David Meltzer (Mercury House)
Does description and analysis by predominately white music writers "neutralize" a black expression? Texts by Norman Mailer, Simone de Beauvoir, William Carlos Williams, Nelson Algren, many more
Writing Jazz, David Meltzer (forthcoming from Mercury House) Jazz from the perspective of black critics and fictionalists.

Hot And Cool: Jazz Short Stories, Marcela Breton, editor (Plume)
By Eudora Welty, Peter De Vries, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Josef Skvorecky, Terry Southern, Maya Angelou, Donald Barthelme, Leroi Jones, Toni Cade Bambara, Al Young, and others

Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose, Art Lange and Nathaniel Mackey, editors (Coffee Table Books)
A far-ranging anthology chosen by a poet/ex-Down Beat editor/past JJA president, and a poet/novelist (Bedouin Hornbook, Callaloo Fiction Series, University of Kentucky)

Sideman, Warren Leight (moving from off-B'way to the Golden Theater, NYC, October 18)

Round About Close to Midnight: The Jazz Writings of Boris Vian, Mike Zwerin, translator and editor (Quartet Books)
The French jazz journalist and cornetist ventures into weird after-hours tales, too. See also Zwerin's own La Tristesse de Saint Louis: Swing Under the Nazis (Quartet Books). Not less moving because it's true.

The Bass Saxophone: Two Novellas, Josef Skvorecky (Ecco Press)
Magic realism from Eastern Europe, where a horn solo is a call of subversive individualism

Rhode Island Red, Charlotte Carter (Serpent's Tail)
Black woman w/master's degree in French plays sax on the streets by day, takes on Manhattan's mysteries by night

From Blues To Bop: A Collection of Jazz Fiction, Richard N. Albert, editor (Anchor Books/Doubleday)
Includes excerpts from Dorothy Baker's seminal Young Man With A Horn and John Clellon Holmes' The Horn, and the notorious "Sparrow's Last Jump"

But Beautiful, Geoff Dyer (North Point Press)
Vignettes from the view of some of the jazz greats

Snakes, Al Young (Dell)
A young black man on the road, infused with the blues. See also Bodies & Soul musical memoirs by the same author

Train Whistle Guitar, Albert Murray (Northeastern Library of Black Literature)
The first novel by the author of The Omni-Americans, to be reissued in paperback December '98

Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed (Scribners)
Hallucinatory writing on race and culture, funny and cutting as hell see also The Freelance Pallbearers, Yellow Back Radio Broke Down et al. by the same author

"The Pursuer," Blow-Up and other Stories, Julio Cortazar (Pantheon)
What makes Johnny -- someone like Charlie Parker -- play