Thelonious Monk composed “Coming on the Hudson” (see the clip) while watching ships from her window. Charlie Parker died while watching television in her Stanhope Hotel suite. She hosted jam sessions, wrote liner notes, lined up gigs and even took a drug charge when she and Monk were caught with marijuana by police in Wilmington, Delaware. Monk, Horace Silver, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris and Gigi Gryce all dedicated songs to her. Not for nothing was Pannonica de Koenigswarter nicknamed “The Jazz Baroness.”
The baroness spent the better part of a decade asking jazz musicians to make three wishes, and she recorded their answers in a set of leather-bound notebooks that included Polaroid pictures of each player. Those notebooks are the core of Three Wishes: An Intimate Look at Jazz Greats, a new paperback of the fascimile from Abrams.
If you’re a hardcore jazzbo, Three Wishes is a must-buy. If not, it’s simply a curio. I fall into the first category, and I find it a fascinating window into the past.