HALF BLOOD BLUES
February 28, 2012
Kindle, hardcover, paperback, audio CD
Berlin, 1939. The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young trumpet-player Hieronymus Falk, declared a musical genius by none other than Louis Armstrong, is arrested in a Paris café. He is never heard from again. He was twenty years old, a German citizen. And he was black.
Berlin, 1952. Falk is a jazz legend. Hot Time Swingers band members Sid Griffiths and Chip Jones, both African Americans from Baltimore, have appeared in a documentary about Falk. When they are invited to attend the film's premier, Sid's role in Falk's fate will be questioned and the two old musicians set off on a surprising and strange journey.
From the smoky bars of pre-war Berlin to the salons of Paris, Sid leads the reader through a fascinating, little-known world as he describes the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that led to Falk's incarceration in Sachsenhausen. Half-Blood Blues is a story about music and race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.
In anticipation of the next Empty Sink Publishing’s short story due out soon (“Automatically Hip” by John McCaffrey), I’d like to recommend HALF BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan.
Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Man Booker Prize Finalist 2011
An Oprah Magazine Best Book of the Year
A book with gorgeous dialogue that begins with the preWWII jazz scene in Berlin and follows a group of jazz muscians through WWII Paris through to their old age.