Synopses & Reviews
An unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at jazz legends
In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Pannonica de Koenigswarter, known as Nica, was a constant and benevolent presence on the thriving New York jazz scene. Known as the Jazz Baroness (she was born into the wealthy Rothschild family and later married a French aristocrat) she befriended such giants as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Barry Harris, Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, and many more. She inspired over twenty jazz compositions, bailed musicians out of jail, and even acted as a booking agent.
She also collected wishes. Over the course of a decade, Koenigswarter asked three hundred musicians what their three wishes in life were, jotting them all down in a notebook. At the same time she took hundreds of candid photographs, saving them all. In Three Wishes, Koenigswarters forays into the psyches and lives of these legendary jazz artists are made available in America for the first time.
With a foreword by celebrated jazz critic Gary Giddins, and a introduction from Nicas granddaughter, Nadine de Koenigswarter, providing rare insights into the mysterious baronesss life, this funny, eclectic, and moving compilation is a uniquely intimate look into the immortals of the classic era of jazz, and a must-have for any fan or afficianado.
"De Koenigswarter (1913-1988), known as the 'Jazz Baroness,' was a fixture on the East Coast jazz scene of the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Born into the wealthy Rothschild family and married to a French aristocrat, de Koenigswarter emigrated to New York City in the early '50s and became an enthusiastic patron of artists large and small. She was also a canny amateur photographer, evidenced in this enthralling collection of candid snapshots. She also, over course of a decade, collected wishes from some 300 musicians; alongside vibrant, smoky Polaroids, these wishes?though plenty go to money, health and more wishes?provide a brief glimpse into each subjects' dreams: Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley wishes for a jazz artists' subsidy organization; Dinah Washington wishes for triplet girls; and Charles Mingus wishes for 'enough to pay my bills, but that's absolutely all.' Not everyone wishes deep: Bill Hardman wishes for 'a crazy old lady'; David 'Fathead' Newman wishes 'To get high... right now.' Legends like Art Blakey Jr., Miles Davis, Horace Silver and John Coltrane are seen as often at work as at play?de Koenigswarter's New Jersey home, 'The Cathouse,' was known for housing cats both literal and jazz (Monk spent years there). Free of speculation or commentary, the work has an appropriately improvisational feel, perfect for engaged browsing?if only it came with a CD." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Pannonica de Koenigswarter, daughter of Charles and Rozsika Rothschild, was married to the Baron Jules de Koenigswarter, a renowned freedom fighter in the French resistance, before she moved to New York City, where she emerged as a major patron of the Jazz scene. Nadine de Koenigswarter, Nicas granddaughter, is a multimedia visual artist living in Paris and West Africa. Gary Giddins is an award-winning jazz critic and author. He writes columns about music for Jazz Times and about film for the New York Sun.