Love At First Listen: 'The Jazz Baroness'

Jazz Baroness i i

Pannonica de Koenigswarter ('Nica' for short) was a British heiress to the Rothschild international financial dynasty. Her great-niece, Hannah Rothschild, wrote a radio profile of her life for broadcast on the BBC in 2008. Francis Paudras hide caption

itoggle caption Francis Paudras
Jazz Baroness

Pannonica de Koenigswarter ('Nica' for short) was a British heiress to the Rothschild international financial dynasty. Her great-niece, Hannah Rothschild, wrote a radio profile of her life for broadcast on the BBC in 2008.

Francis Paudras

In June of 1954, an Englishwoman slipped backstage at the Salon du Jazz concert in Paris. Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter had just heard the music of jazz pianist Thelonius Monk for the first time, and she was desperate to meet him.

Thus began the baronness' lifelong obsession with jazz — and a passionate friendship. Although the exact nature of the relationship between Monk and de Koenigswarter was never known, her niece, filmmaker Hannah Rothschild, explores their bond in a new documentary film. The Jazz Baroness chronicles the time the baroness spent as Monk's benefactor, and the impact her support made on the dawn of modern music.

The Jazz Baroness is co-produced by the BBC and is currently airing on HBO. Rothschild is a freelance writer and filmmaker for the BBC. She joins host Terry Gross for Fresh Air's celebration of the life and career of Thelonious Monk.

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