Nica’s Dream

Barry Singer in the Sunday Times profiles the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, on the release of a book of her photographs.

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IF the mysterious Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter is at all remembered today, it is for her proximity to the deaths of two legendary jazz musicians. In 1955 Charlie Parker died on a sofa in her Fifth Avenue home; 27 years later Thelonious Monk died after secluding himself for years in her New Jersey house…

Her illustrious family has long refused to discuss her. But now a new book, “Three Wishes: An Intimate Look at Jazz Greats” (Abrams Image), offers a window into her personal life, providing details even her jazz intimates were probably unaware of.

The book is primarily a collection of candid photographs of the musicians taken by the baroness, and a compilation of their varied responses to a favorite question: “What are your three wishes?” On Oct. 30 an exhibition of her original notebooks collecting these snapshots and wish lists will open at the Gallery at Hermès in New York.