Re: From Amazon

by Laura Demilio

Albert -- I pre-ordered my copy as soon as I heard here that the book was published. I had expected it in May but my copy was sent to me just this week -- let's see, it was Thursday that it arrived.

Now, re: new findings -- are you meaning, what in the book is new and original as opposed to the other biographies? I think we who have read the book will have to sit on it awhile and think about how to convey it, but as Debbie said and I agree, it is refreshing and original, without having to come to any definitive conclusion at all about Bix -- more relying on how everyone around him, from friends who knew him to biographers about him to people today who listen to his music and discuss him, interpret his -- let's say incidents in his life without digging right down to the meaning of it all, the life itself. It's not some volume trumpeting: "Here is why Bix drank himself to death!" (did he?) It's not "Bix committed a crime and his family banished him!" (we're left to think for ourselves what the circumstances might have been without a murmur of accusation). It's not "This is what Bix wanted to do with his music, and was thwarted at every step!" (still leaving readers with the impression that a gifted artist left this world too soon so that we are cheated from hearing an evolved and developed musician of later decades).

Oh, I'm still sticking to my guns that Ralphie Berton was a smarmy tale-teller, but he's, if not exactly a blip on the radar in this book, still relegated to being someone who was no expert on Bix. The discussions in the book with all the people Brendan spoke to/emailed are lively. They freely express opinions and interpretations, and nobody is, or has to be, "absolutely right" or be the last word. Readers are left to think for themselves. And you know? I think even people who might not entirely agree with the direction this book takes are not going to dislike it. It's just a damn good read.

Posted on Mar 19, 2017, 9:02 AM

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