The Albion Beatnik Bookstore website (or how a bookshop can change a light bulb)

The web and blog page of the Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford: muses and misspills on books, jazz, poetry, stuff like false flags and smoke screen: is randomly decrepid and is neo-bankrupt: is so analogue it's anal.

Father & Son

Compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, Carole King, Billy Joel and many other Americans – whose lyrics followed dramatically the contours of the melody and effortlessly displayed an emotional … Continue reading

February 15, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Straight Line to Joy: A Choice of Jazz Books

There are only a few writers who are able to write well and with authority on all aspects of jazz. Philip Larkin pleaded for a “belle-lettriste of jazz, a Newman … Continue reading

January 2, 2016 · Leave a comment

In Search of Dinu Lipatti

DINU LIPATTI was a Romanian pianist who died in 1950 at the tragically early age of 33, when he succumbed to complication arising from Hodgkins’ lymphoma. Yet for all its brevity … Continue reading

January 2, 2016 · Leave a comment

An Introduction to Charles Mingus, the Angry Man of Jazz

“He got so heavy that the bass was something he just slung over his shoulder like a duffel bag, hardly noticing the weight. The bigger he got, the smaller the … Continue reading

December 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

From Straight Lines We Make Curves… An Appreciation of Michael Garrick

English jazz pianist and composer MICHAEL GARRICK, a pioneer in mixing jazz with poetry recitations and large-scale choral works, died in November 2011. For the non-cognoscente his compositions could be overly complex, … Continue reading

December 18, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Jazz Etiquette

Alternate Wednesday in term time, the likes of Gilad Atzmon, John Etheridge, Alan Barnes, Tim Whitehead and Chris Garrick play here. The shop space is quite a groovy atmosphere, lights turned low, … Continue reading

November 17, 2015 · 1 Comment

Maybe I’m Amazed

Here is the finest of Paul McCartney’s songs, the highlight of the album released to announce formally the break-up of the Beatles, the eponymous McCartney, the song of course being Maybe I’m Amazed; … Continue reading

November 15, 2015 · Leave a comment

Miles as Engine Driver

Miles Davis battled various physical ailments throughout the last twenty years of his life until his death in 1991. He had spent five years sidelined in the late 1970s, holed up … Continue reading

November 10, 2015 · Leave a comment

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli: Hobnail Boots and Angel’s Slippers

ARTURO BENEDETTI MICHELANGELI was notorious more for cancelling his own concerts than attending them, or for driving his Ferrari cars in the Mille Miglia road race rather than working in the recording studio. … Continue reading

August 18, 2015 · Leave a comment

Louis Armstrong: “The Beginning and End of Music in America.”

LOUIS ARMSTRONG transformed jazz in the 1920s and gave it a direction and purpose. He remains one of its most important figures, changing the nature of soloist and ensemble. He … Continue reading

February 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

Under an English Heaven: Michael Garrick’s Jazz Praises

MICHAEL GARRICK’s Jazz Praises, composed in the 1960s, is a unique creation. Critic Derek Jewell endorsed it enthusiastically in The Sunday Times and it was broadcast on both television and radio. It … Continue reading

February 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

A Chameleon Chasing an Audience: the Musical Life of Miles Davis

“I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning . . . Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” Born in 1926, … Continue reading

February 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Legend of St Elmo: Elmo Hope and Bebop Piano

ELMO HOPE is seemingly a forgotten pianist of the bebop era. His unfulfilled musical life tells us much about the jazz experience of 1950s America, but much more about the … Continue reading

February 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

Joe Harriott: Fire in His Soul

JOE HARRIOTT is no longer a forgotten father figure of modern European jazz. An excellent new biography of this seeringly brilliant and individual saxophonist has been published… Since his death in … Continue reading

February 23, 2015 · 1 Comment

“Son, You Hot!” Hampton Hawes and the Fire Inside

HAMPTON HAWES (1928-1977) was one of the greatest jazz bebop pianists. But at the summit of his career, celebrated as New Star of the Year by Down Beat magazine in 1956, … Continue reading

February 23, 2015 · Leave a comment