All that Jazz New York 1956 . . .
I blow hot and cold on jazz. Bad memories of seeing Stan Kenton interviewed and explaining that “it was a language” and thinking, yeah, ‘a language’, which if you didn’t speak excluded you from the conversation. Courtney Pine’s early neo-bop incarnation didn’t help either, the energy of Ellington and Basey, the desolate cool of Baker, Blakey, Davis, the wiggy experimentalism of Coxhill, all were lost to me when, periodically revived as it tends to be, Jazz turned into a soundtrack to a chic brasserrie. A formula in which each musician in turn got to display their chops. Their hated virtuosity.
The Jazz Baroness did not, however think this way. A friend and contemporary of Bird, an habitué of the Left Bank her story was an extraordinary one and told here by her relative, the filmmaker Hannah Rothschild.