Here’s how this week’s arts and culture piece begins:
Geoff Dyer is a British-born, LA-based writer with four novels and numerous nonfiction meditations on subjects that range from Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky’s cult classic Stalker to the photographs of Garry Winogrand to an inside look at life on an American aircraft carrier. His latest work, out in May, is a reflection on greatness in aging called The Last Days of Roger Federer.
But my favorite is But Beautiful, a lyrical, semi-biographical, semi-imagined “novel” of some of the greatest jazz musicians who have ever lived: Ben Webster, Charles Mingus, Lester (“Prez”) Young, Bud Powell, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk.
Duke Ellington, one of the few who didn’t burn out before his time is in there.
And so is Art Pepper (1925-1982), West Coast jazz alto sax player, who was born in Gardena, LA, played the Central Avenue clubs during their 40s and 50s heyday, and lived for years on Fargo Street in Echo Park. He spent three years at the since-discredited drug rehab Synanon, at the time in Santa Monica.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.