FAKEBOOK by Richard Terrill

Book Reviews
Fakebook by Richard Terrill
By Lord Ouch
Dec 13, 2000, 03:21

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FAKEBOOK IMPROVISATIONS ON A JOURNEY BACK TO JAZZ by Richard Terrill; Limelight Editions, 2000

The prototypical biography of a jazz musician includes stories of marathon recording sessions, drugs, women, and time spent on the road, but Richard Terrill's life has been more like that of the majority of jazz players. Saxophonist Terrill was a student of avant-garde jazz whose professional calling was to be the sideman in a touring group led by a cast member of the Lawrence Welk show. Eventually Terrill opted for a career as a college professor and writer of non-fiction but, after ten years of inactivity, found that he was incapable of producing the slightest noise on his horn. He committed himself to musical rehab and at that point in the story, Fakebook becomes a metaphysical homage to rehearsal, creativity, and the act of listening. Interspersing autobiographical chapters with brief tributes to Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, and other personal influences, Terrill relates to music in a way that makes it seem integral to life—like sleeping and breathing. The cumulative contribution to the history of jazz by part-timers like Terrill may amount to little more than a footnote, but on a personal level their stories can be as affecting as those of the titans.

- Lord Ouch

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