But Beautiful, A Book About Jazz | Geoff Dyer

Canongate Books

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Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonius Monk creating his own private language on the piano. . .

In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skilfully evokes the embattled lives of the players who shaped modern jazz. He draws on photos and anecdotes, but music is the driving force of But Beautiful and Dyer brings it to life in luminescent and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician's style.

“But Beautiful” was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1992.


"The only book about jazz that i have recommended to my friends. It is a little gem." - Keith Jarrett

'A copy . . . ought to be on everybody's Desert Island' Independent

"As intricate a mixture of biographical essay and make-believe as is likely to be written."- New York imes

"Remarkable...there can be few books on jazz written with such tenderness and care." - Adam Lively Times Literary Supplement

"But Beautiful is just that. A moving and highly original tribute to Black American Music." - Bryan Ferry


About the Author:

 Geoff Dyer is the author of four novels and six other nonfiction books, including But Beautiful, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, and Out of Sheer Rage, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. The winner of a Lannan Literary Award, the International Centre of Photography's 2006 Infinity Award for writing on photography, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters' E. M. Forster Award, Dyer is a regular contributor to many publications in the UK and the US. He lives in London.

For more information visit Geoff Dyer's official website: www.geoffdyer.com

Product details:

Book title:

But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz


Geoff Dyer


Canongate Books



Number of pages:


Product Dimensions:

12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm

Release Date:





Fiction  / Biography / Jazz / Composers & Musicians

Catalog No:

0857864025 / 978-0857864024