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Outside In: A Novel Paperback – January 22, 2013
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--Nat Hentoff, legendary columnist/social historian and author of 32 books, including At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene, and Jazz Is.
"Outside In is an extraordinary work by any standards, not least because it is a novel that explores the experience of 'genius' and its ever-ambiguous relationship with 'madness' . . . You can read it as a work of startling imagination or as a book as bonkers as its protagonist appears to be. Maybe it works as both . . . Either way, Outside In deserves a read, being that rare thing, a jazz novel by a jazz man."
"Outside In is an intriguing fantasy from inside the jazz world, all narrated by the main character, Shawn. 'Playing' Shawn is professional saxophonist Scott Shachter, a storyteller who makes you want to know what will happen next."
--Ira Gitler, distinguished jazz historian and producer, and author of Swing to Bop and Jazz Masters of the Forties, and with Leonard Feather, The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz.
"Outside In is a cosmic jazz fairy tale . . . a novel of great imagination, of the juxtaposition of fantastic fantasia with mundane jazz-poverty-nightmare, of redemption in the most unlikely circumstances, under the most unlikely conditions . . . The book is a page turner, well-written, funny and tragic, a fable filled with insights on the music and the world in which it does or does not exist . . . Shachter captivates."
"The author's tongue-in-cheek, sometimes sarcastic humor, is well written, and kept me laughing out loud as I ventured into his tale of music and madness. This book is a page turner."
--Dee Dee McNeil, LAJazz.com
From the Back Cover
Scott Shachter has been a professional musician in New York since the 1980s. He's worked with some of the most talented performers in the world--among them, some of the most neurotic. Outside In puts you inside the wacky life of a working class musician, and explores the "crazy genius" in us all.
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You don’t have to be a musician to enjoy this story. Sci Fi Fiction or Reality?...It will make you wonder, and question any of your preconceived notions when it comes to judging people.
This is movie material, folks!
But wait, there's more!
Enter Jimmy. Half-wit or savant? Burden or savior? Shachter's Jimmy brings us into a world that combines Shawn's jazz, romance, mindless gigs, mental institutions, and the mob, with Jimmy's perpendicular universe peopled with the likes of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Coltrane AND Vincent Van Gogh. Add to this Shachter's wit and a knack for writing characters you can smell and touch -- in other words, you've GOT to read this book.
At the same time, it is laugh out loud funny. Pay close attention to the "compliments" he receives from fellow band members. The book is filled with fascinating but flawed characters, developed separately and then artfully brought together.
What grounds the novel is that Mr. Shachter is himself a longstanding professional musician of the highest caliber, sharing the insights and experiences of a very fine jazz musician through the eyes of the less talented narrator. Highly recommended.