Young Man with a Horn
Young Man with a Horn
New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590175774, 185pp.
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
Dorothy Baker's "Young Man with a Horn" is widely regarded as the first jazz novel, and it pulses with the music that defined an era. Baker took her inspiration from the artistry though not the life of legendary horn player Bix Beiderbecke, and the novel went on to be adapted into a successful movie starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and Doris Day.
Gary Giddins was the jazz critic for "The Village Voice," where his column Weather Bird ran for thirty years, and is presently director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has contributed articles about music and movies to "The New York Times," "The New Yorker," "The Atlantic," "The Nation," "Esquire," "The New York Sun," and "Vanity Fair," among others. He has written twelve books, including "Visions of Jazz," which won the National Book Critics Circle Awardin 1998, and "Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams." His most recent book is "Warning Shadows: Home Alone with Classic Cinema.""
“Young Man with a Horn is a great book, beautifully conceived and masterfully written. There is little else that can be said in praise of any book.” – New York Amsterdam News
“The Young Man with a Horn is the story of a musician, a swing trumpeter who lives only for the pounding rhythms in his blood. Yet despite its subject matter, it is not the fragment of fervid impressionism that the jazz age used to produce; despite the irrationalism of swing, the book itself is a clear-minded, informed, coldly rational study of a swing-addict.” –The New York Times
“Young Man with a Horn is practically perfect. You feel, and feel deeply, the atmosphere Baker describes, the music Rick and his friends make, the fanatic devotion of artists who can’t take their music or leave it but must take it and take it hard. Between the lines Baker somehow gets a great many true things said about American life, its tempo, its elements of frustration, its unique and unquestioning vitality.” —Clifton Fadiman, The New Yorker
“I first read this book when I was twelve. I loved it because it did not condescend or sugarcoat. It took me inside the music—it made me want to find an instrument and learn it.” —Jesse Kornbluth