The Jazz Baroness
‘I’d like to play a little tune I composed… for this beautiful lady here,’ says Thelonious Monk. The tune is dedicated to ‘Pannonica’ Rothschild – who became known as ‘Nica’ or ‘the Baroness’ – the errant member of the wealthy dynasty who fled to immerse herself in the underworld of New York’s jazz clubs.
Both this well-researched book and film are by Nica’s great niece Hannah Rothschild. These give a no-stone-unturned account of Nica’s friendships with the jazz legends. Charlie Parker died in her flat and Monk lived with her for ten years. The research gives a fascinating insight into the struggles of jazz musicians and the rise of the Rothschild dynasty. While the film excels – with Helen Mirren voicing Nica, and jazz artist interviews aplenty – the book expands on all the facts. I can’t recommend them enough.