JAZZ AND DEATH: MEDICAL PROFILES OF JAZZ GREATS by Frederick J. Spencer, M.D. is a chilling and entertaining look at what caused the deaths of great jazz musicians. Highly detailed and accurate, the book contains 33 b&w illustrations and an index.
This is an essential reference source and should be placed in every public library available, and in the homes of those who enjoy reading about jazz. The book is divided into disease categories.
The excellent introduction, concerning jazz and medicine, is followed by many chapters, each chapter a detailed and well-written study. For instance, in the chapter titled "Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis," the readers learn what killed Charlie Mingus. This disease is also known as "Lou Gehrigs Disease."
The chapter on "Cancer" discusses the deaths of John Coltrane Stan Getz Gerry Mulligan Eugene Ammons Art Blakey Dexter Gordon. There is a discussion cancer of the testicles which claimed the life of baritone saxophonist Serge Chaloff. Each subject is discussed and a useful biography is given about him or her in addition to the cause of death.
Other chapters are "Cholera" Dental Disease" "Diabetes" "Food Poisoning" "Homicide" "Substance Abuse" "Suicide "Syphilis" which killed composer-pianist Scott Joplin Louis Chauvin Andy Razaf and Tony Jackson. Other causes of death are covered by chapter.
A chapter of special interest is titled "Trauma" and here is found the listing and discussion of trumpet player Chet Baker -- was his fall to death from a hotel window an accident or was he murdered which some recent investigations say may be the case. There is a discussion of band leader Glen Miller killed during World War Two in a plane crash. Further listings would be much too long for the scope of this review but readers are urged to purchase a copy of this excellent reference to have in their home libraries.
This book is one of a kind. Highly detailed it will fascinate all readers. Highly recommended. This book truly does "reveal the truth behind the death of jazz artists and the secrets of their often fatal lifestyles" just as the book says it does! Frederick J. Spencer M.D. is a professor and associate dean emeritus of the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University.'JAZZ AND DEATH: MEDICAL PROFILES OF JAZZ GREATS is must reading for all students & readers curious about the reasons of death connected with jazz musicians. Filled with chilling and documented facts, it is an accurate look at what killed these people. It will fascinate you with its revelations!