Sascha Feinstein grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the only child of parents who were both artists. While he was still in high school, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and died less than a year later. It was during the trying period of his mother’s illness that he became consumed by jazz, both as an emotional salvation and as a necessary form of escape. Later, during his college years, he discovered the crossovers between jazz and poetry, and a life’s love was forged. Feinstein’s passion for the creative arts and his fragmented memories of the heartbreaking loss of his mother entwined to become the book Black Pearls. In the spirit of jazz improvisation, these gentle, evocative essays are governed by theme and variation more than by strict chronology, each essay repositioning riffs and choruses of personal experience within the broader cultural landscapes of literature, painting, and music. Although the project began as an exploration into the archeological nature of lost memory, it matured into a far more expansive understanding of personal identity.
Rearview Mirror • Spells • The Pheasant’s Reflection • The Wide Hands of Charles Mingus • Blouse Catching Smoke • Where We Sleep • Thelonious Maximus • Black Pearls • Mormor • Before • Transcriptions • Lost Works • Fire : Ceremony • On Angels and Demons • Emerald Hummingbird • In Honor of the Sacred Heart Acknowledgments