My appreciation of the esteemed critic Barry McRae (Jazz Journal, 17 May 2019) has certainly produced some interesting correspondence.
I observed in my piece that Barry’s book The Jazz Handbook certainly deserved a reprint. Within days, Philip Dodd, his original commissioning editor at Longman’s, got in touch to say that he was trying to bring the book back to life with some judicious updates and revisions to make the book available again today. Let’s hope that happens.
And then I got a delightful message from Fiona Lane, Barry’s daughter, to whom The Jazz Handbook is dedicated, on the subject of Barry’s Moniker Manuals: he compiled 23 volumes of autographs and memories from famous musicians and not so important critics. Apparently I wrote my contribution to Volume 3 in December 1983, not Volume 5 as I thought. Oh so long ago!
By the way, the family used to call him “Bazzer The Jazzer”. How the lovable old rogue must have appreciated that.
Simon Adams, Brighton