Out of Nowhere - The Musical Life of Warne Marsh by Marcus Cornelius
The second printing of this extremely well received fictional autobiography" of Warne Marsh will be available shortly (scheduled release date is late April 2008).
The book has been described as perhaps the best book ever written on the creative life of a musician, and essential reading for anyone interested in music, especially jazz perhaps. Of course it is valuable for those who wish to learn more about how Warne Marsh developed as a musician, teacher and friend. The way the book is written will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good read. Several readers have commented that as soon as they had finished the book, they started over again. There aren't many books like that.
Any suggestions about how to make sure this book reaches the widest possible audience would be warmly received.
About Warne Marsh
Warne Marsh (1907-1987) has been recognised by an increasing number of attentive performers and listeners as perhaps one of the most inspired western improvisational musicians of all time, jazz or classical. His genius was spotted very early on in his career by no less than Charlie Parker, who remarked, Watch that kid. Hes got it.
Playing professionally from his early teenage years, Marsh performed with many of the very finest musicians of his day, such as Lennie Tristano, Sal Mosca, Lee Konitz, Peter Ind, Peter Ball, Red Mitchell, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Bill Evans, Ted Brown amongst many others. He performed at many leading American venues, including Birdland, Carnegie Hall, the Village Vanguard, the Half Note and the now defunct Dontes, and appeared at many major European jazz festivals, clubs and concerts halls. Playing in noisy clubs he never did enjoy and had an unfilled dream of creating an intimate venue that was as respectful of the performer as performance spaces that classical musicians have ready access to.
Despite the categories that we find it very hard to live without, Warne Marshs music never did and never will fit into any category, such as the horrible misnomer of the cool school. Marsh became a much-loved teacher as well and, as with many other American jazz musicians of his time, really found recognition and fruition in Europe. He was a master of the tenor saxophone and it is hard to imagine any performer with a finer sense for the new melodic line than he. His output was prodigious (see the Warne Marsh music link), amazing for someone who preferred playing live to a caring audience than to a studio microphone.
The biography - in fact more of a fictional autobiography - explores the evolution of Marshs creative genius, against the backdrop of developments in the musical context over the span of his career. It uses the original and effective device of presenting the story mostly in the first person, which achieves for the story a greater intimacy with the subject than could otherwise be achieved. This aspect of the telling turns the book into a tour de force, and gives it a magic that straight ahead biographies do not usually get to. This approach to the search for authenticity and immediacy is more than validated by the comment of his widow, Geraldyne Marsh who said that reading the book was like having Warne back in the living room. The writing style and form has been described as a verbal expression of the way Warne Marsh played the music. The highly original work would make a very happy addition to the recommended or required reading list of any Creative Writing program and music school.
The book has been described (see Readers Comments) as one of the finest books written on the music of any genre, and has made such an impact on several readers that, once the book was finished, they started reading it again. This is as true for some who knew Warne very well as for those who did not know him at all and had never heard his music. There are not many books related to music that have that effect.