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The origins of jazz are in dispute, but one
thing is pretty much agreed on: If it wasn’t
born in New Orleans, it damn well grew
up there. Just like Lick Holden. Lick started
out life at the dawn of the 20th century in
Cooltown, one of the many black districts
in the Crescent City, and he soaked up music
from his earliest days. Working as an ice boy
making deliveries to the Storyville saloons,
Lick got to know some of the greatest black
musicians of the day and got one of them,
a local character called the Professor, to
give him cornet lessons. Soon he was
peddling music rather than ice to the
habitués of Storyville’s brothels and bars,
and eventually he became known as one
of the great horn men of his day.
Throughout his career, he was in love with
Sylvie Black, his stepsister, with whom he
had a brief affair before she ran off and
disappeared from his life. Obsessively,
futilely, Lick searches for Sylvie in bars
and clubs from New York to the Gulf of
Mexico, gradually squandering his talent
as a musician and turning to a life of petty
crime, until he is murdered in the 1920s.
Interspersed with the chapters of Lick’s
history are accounts of the efforts of one
Sylvia Di Napoli, a black singer from London,
to trace her ancestry—a search that brings
her to America and eventually New Orleans.
As we watch the progress of two narrative
lines, it’s clear they’ll intersect at some
point—but the pleasure of the tale isn’t
one of revelations so much as portraiture,
the re-creation of a lost world of music,
lust, and fame.

Author; Patrick Neate.
Book published by Viking. 2001.
London. First Edition.
Cardcover. 401 pages.
The book content, text, are in good condition.

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  • Seller location: Wellington City, Wellington, NZ

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