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    The Jazz Baroness

    Jazz´i paruness |

    Director: Hannah Rothschild

    Country: Great Britain

    Year: 2008

    Length: 83'

    Language: English

    Her curiosity piqued by an unfamiliar name in her family tree, director Hannah Rothschild asked her father, Jacob, for an explanation, but learned only that the mysterious great-aunt had lived in New York. A swirl of rumours soon followed: the aunt liked black men; she flew a Lancaster bomber during the war; Charlie Parker had died of an overdose in her hotel room; she had abandoned her five children, but lived with 306 cats; dozens of great songs had been written for her; she had raced Miles Davis down Fifth Avenue. Everyone agreed on one point, though: that her great love, the man with whom she lived for ten years and for whom she had even gone to jail was none other than the high priest of bebop, Thelonious Monk.

    Baroness Pannonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter (1913–1988), née Rothschild, an English aristocrat who emigrated to New York after fighting for the French Resistance during the Second World War, lived only for jazz. Featuring testimonials from various family members and musicians and unpublished recordings, this documentary evokes the flamboyant, tumultuous life of an extravagant heiress: a free spirit, feminist, activist, muse, arts patron and attentive protector of many 20th century jazz giants.