The Daily Beast: The Five Best Books Written by Musicians

By Malcolm Jones
The Daily Beast

Good Morning Blues (Count Basie)Count Basie, Good Morning Blues

The late great novelist, essayist, and memoirist Albert Murray knew his way around autobiography like no one else, which made him, a jazz lover in the bargain, the perfect ghost writer for Count Basie. Together they put together the best autobiography ever written by a jazz musician, or almost any musician for that matter. The endless touring, the Jim Crow aggravation, the hustle to produce new music under pressure, all the while wondering where you might find a meal or a bed in the next town, even as you were trying to figure out who you could find who could possibly replace Lester Young, who just quit to go play with Fletcher Henderson—it’s all here, a life crammed full of incident, bursting with personalities (Young, Billie Holiday, Jimmy Rushing, Jo Jones), and all of it lived, sweated, endured, and abided while Basie and his band perfected some of the most sublime music ever played on the planet. Bless Basie, but also bless Murray for wrangling this saga into a tale of genius.

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