Better Days Will Come Again: The Life of Arthur Briggs, Jazz Genius of Harlem, Paris, and a Nazi Prison Camp

Travis Atria (Author)

Product Details

$27.99  $25.75
Chicago Review Press
Publish Date
January 07, 2020
6.1 X 1.2 X 9.0 inches | 1.4 pounds
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About the Author

Travis Atria is the author, with Todd Mayfield, of Traveling Soul: The Life of Curtis Mayfield. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Billboard, Wax Poetics, and other publications. He lives in Gainesville, Florida.


"Arthur Briggs is a name you may not know now but will never forget after reading the details of his life: from his humble beginnings in Grenada, to Harlem in its golden Renaissance, to Europe--primarily France--through most of the twentieth century. The trumpeter and bandleader became a Zelig of Paris's jazz age--playing with, and for, some of the biggest names of the era: Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhardt, Josephine Baker and Ernest Hemingway. Music propels Briggs's saga, and, for a black man adrift in a white world, is eventually his means of survival--playing classical music in a Nazi prison camp, and teaching music in the years after World War II. Atria's storytelling is intimately detailed and grandly epic, tragic and triumphant, living up to its title." --Ashley Kahn, author of A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album
"If you've never heard of Arthur Briggs, join the club. After reading Travis Atria's intensely readable, superbly researched account, you sure as hell won't forget him. Atria has uncovered a largely untold, often harrowing tale of jazz, race, and international politics, and he has made it into a nail-biter." --Gary Giddins, author of Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star and Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker
"Arthur Briggs lived a king-hell epic life, as a musician and as a human being. Along with Josephine Baker, he did his part for the country that had abused them as human beings and artists. Atria's magnificent book features a who's who of jazz and chronicles the struggle for human dignity, set to the soundtrack of astonishing American music." --William McKeen, author of Everybody Had an Ocean and Mile Marker Zero
"A clear picture of an extraordinary life of resilience, talent, and determination."--Kirkus Reviews
"This carefully crafted biography bears witness to the power of music and the human spirit and will inform and inspire music fans everywhere." -- Library Journal
"A fascinating story and valuable reclamation of an overlooked musician."-- Booklist