Herbie Nichols in Night Lights
Mark Miller came up with far more on his biographical subject than one might reasonably expect at this late date. Nichols, an almost-unknown pianist in his lifetime, died in 1963 at the age of 44. He left behind much more of a compositional legacy than did Twardzik, and he also had a handful of friends and posthumous advocates who have elevated his work to a respected place in the post-World War II jazz canon. In addition to his fine detective work and analysis of Nichols’ unique music, Miller makes a strong and original case for Nichols as a product of the Harlem Renaissance movement.