Jazz Baby
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Jazz Baby

4.61 of 5 stars 4.61  ·  rating details  ·  46 ratings  ·  36 reviews
While all Mississippi bakes in the scorching summer of 1925, a sudden orphanhood casts its icy shadow across Emily Ann Teegarten, a pretty young teen. Taken in by an aunt bent on ridding herself of this unexpected burden, "Baby" Teegarten plots her escape using the only means at her disposal: a voice that makes church ladies cry and angels take notice. "I'm gonna sing jazz...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Fresh Ink Group
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(showing 1-30 of 108)
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Stephen Geez
I recently so effusively praised Beem Weeks’s Jazz Baby historical novel to a group of already-appreciating fans that several challenged me to list five simple reasons I keep it handy for occasional reference and reread. Okay, sure:

5) SETTING: The authenticity and vividness of Prohibition-era south from rural Mississippi to the Storyville underbelly of New Orleans is so true and fascinating that I’m grateful for the chance to experience so personally. The world of gangsters and speakeasies and f...more
Jenny Lloyd
Jul 11, 2013 Jenny Lloyd rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Lord a-mercy! Shove my head in an ice-box and pour me a cool co-cola because Jazz Baby is hotter and steamier than a Mississippi swamp.
I could SMELL the sweat, the booze, the smoke and heat in the sleazy New Orleans speakeasies. I could FEEL those crumbling sidewalks beneath my feet. And the all pervading sense of danger this girl was in sneaked off the page and under my skin.
Lock up your sons (and your daughters, too) because Emily Ann Teegarten is running loose and wild with no Mama or Papa to...more
Bill Ward
This is one of the most original, atmospheric and best written novels I have read in a long time. It is the story of a poor white teenager who wants to be a Jazz singer and is set in Mississippi during the time now known as the roaring twenties.
The characters are brought beautifully to life, especially Baby as the teenager discovering her sexuality and the ability it gives her to control men, both young and old. She is determined to escape poverty and become a Jazz singer but a mix of character...more
Y. Correa
From the first line the character of Emily Ann jumped to life. I was instantly taken into a time and place that I knew little about (excluding what I'd learned in text books), and by the time I turned to the last page I felt as though I'd gone on a one of a kind journey with Emily Ann "Baby" Teengaten leading the way.

It amazed me how I could clearly hear that "Southern Miss'ippi twang" leap off of the pages and ring clear in my ears, bright and true.
Baby, was in heart and mind the definition of...more
Nicola McDonagh
This is a truly memorable read with a rich and evocative narrative reminiscent of Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. It is a story of a very strong-willed 13 year-old girl desperate to become a Jazz singer. Emily Ann Teergaten smokes opium, canoodles with boys and girls alike, and somehow manages to survive the threat and menace that surrounds her, as she attempts to make her dream come true and sing in New York City.

Tragedy follows Emily at every turn as she spirals towards drug addiction and pros...more
Christoph Fischer
"Jazz Baby" by Beem Weeks is a very authentic feeling and atmospheric novel set in 1925 New Orleans. The dreams of a young white, talented Jazz singer, are slightly shattered by family tragedies and other obstacles in her way to fame. Story telling from a young voice often has the quality of honesty and rawness that befits the at times bleek or sad character of the book.
Weeks captures the colourful and varied aspects of the place and time wonderfully, just as we would imagine it: A young girl's...more
Jul 31, 2012 Peter rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: llbr
Imagine a coming-of-age protagonist who is a mix of Scout Finch (a few years older) and Holden Caulfield (a few years younger), navigating an adult world of Blue Velvet type characters. Reading Jazz Baby, a distinctly Southern novel by Beem Weeks, one can’t help associate other literary works and films; yet this remarkable novel manages to etch out its own identity.

Pubescent and pretty, precocious and impetuous, Emily Ann (Baby) Teegarten is growing up fast in Rayford, Mississippi in the Jazz Ag...more
S. Rose
Jazz Baby reminds me of the time when I, as a small child, peeled open my very first pomegranate. Hidden beneath the unassuming skin I discovered a treasure of sparkling, edible ruby-red jewels that felt smooth to the tongue and when bitten, burst into a luscious sweetness with a tart, sassy edge. So too with Jazz Baby!

In the interest of disclosure I offered to review the novel for author, Beem Weeks, and was forthwith gifted a paperback copy (since I’m an old fogy who hasn’t broken down and bo...more
Bev Spicer

This was my first download from the Rave Reviews Book Club selection and I must say that it is a spellbinding piece of writing.
Set in Mississippi in the 1920s there is masterful detail of lives led on either side of the river, and Emily Ann Teegarten is the daring young protagonist whose dream of making it as a jazz singer finds her taking risks a young girl cannot hope to get away with all the time. I was immediately bewitched by her outspoken ideas and tenacity, her naivety and her curiously...more
Queen Spades
Aug 21, 2013 Queen Spades rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of historical fiction, southern literature, coming of age
Shelves: royally-favored
For the extended review, please stop by this link on The Review Board: http://wp.me/p30Uww-7o

“Baby” Teegarten has a dream: a dream to sing Jazz in New York City. However, in her quest to achieve that dream, she runs into many pitfalls causing her to grow up way too soon. This is set up in Mississippi in the summer of 1925, and this sparked my interest greatly, due to the fact that Mississippi is my place of origin.

The first thing I noticed was the tone of this work. Jazz Baby is a mix of comedic...more
Jazz Baby is the story of 13-year-old Emily Ann, a girl who loses both parents early in the novel. She possess a singing voice that's able to make saints cry in church and sinners dance in the speakeasies of 1925 New Orleans. This voice will take her far away from the dirty little Mississippi town of her birth. But while Emily thinks she's a grown woman, ready to get on with life as an independent person, she's woefully underprepared for the real world. There are musicians, club owners, revenue...more
It's 1925 and jazz is just taking off. Emily Ann 'Baby' Teegarten has grown up by the Mississippi with a voice that can sing jazz and have people grinding on the dance floor, but can also make old ladies cry when she sings hymns. When she is orphaned, is put in the care of her maiden aunt who wants her to marry the preacher's son and attend church regularly. But Emily Ann just wants to sing jazz. And she'll do whatever she has to in order to realise her dream. But when events spiral out of her c...more
Beem Weeks
Sep 28, 2013 Beem Weeks rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
(This isn't a review; it's a commentary in the author's own words.)

Emily Ann "Baby" Teegarten is a young girl with big dreams. She has the sort of voice that convicts sinners simply through song. But Baby has bigger aspirations than singing spirituals to that Mississippi congregation on Sunday mornings during the summer of 1925. The girl yearns to sing jazz in the clubs way up in New York City. Her father is her biggest supporter, standing behind the girl every step of the way--until he passes a...more
Blake Rivers
A Shot of Realism into Your Veins

I will start off this review by saying that I am in two minds about this book. There are parts of this story that I take issue with and made me feel very uncomfortable... and I believe that is exactly how it should be.

This is a story of a girl just entering her teens who ends up being used by almost every man she meets, and is betrayed by the society around her. It is a sad story in that respect, and we follow Emily-Ann from an innocence into a world of degradati...more
This thrilling page-turner had me hooked from beginning to end! It is an engrossing tale of crime and speakeasies in 1925 Mississippi & New Orleans, told in the unique voice of Emily Ann Teegarten - aka 'Baby'. Full of deep southern charm, rich details and authentic vernacular.

At the tender age of 13, Emily Ann finds herself orphaned. Blessed with a beautiful voice, her one desire is to sing jazz in New York City. As a pretty young teen, a budding bisexual and talented chanteuse, Emily Ann...more
Marlena Hand
JAZZ BABY is set back in the summer of 1925 in Mississippi. We read about Emily Ann Teegarten and her life as it is flipped upside down with one horrific incident after another. Forced to live with her aunt, Emily begins plotting her escape, with nothing but a dream to sing jazz in New York City. She hopes that the speakeasies of New Orleans are short stepping stones to her dream in the Big Apple. BUT Emily is introduced to more than she could’ve imagined.

We read from the eyes of young Emily Ann...more
Shelley Young
Imagine running through 1925 Storyville, Nawlins with gasoline drawers on and the devil running fast behind your tail. Sound dangerous? It isn't only because it's good fiction.

This is what I love (not like-love) about this book. It's original. Tired of reading the same storyline told the same way with different character names? This book will cure you of that. Another aspect I loved about this book is, you don't see what's coming. This along with the dialect used and the female character's point...more
Sarah Lynch
An authentic window into 1920s Mississippi

I picked this book up one evening and started reading, soon discovering it'd be one of those that I'd require a stretch of time to chew through without interruption. It is for this reason I put the book back down and picked it up again when I knew I would have a window of quiet time to dive in and really allow myself to absorb the story crafted here. For crafted it is.

Jazz Baby tells the story of a 13-year-old girl who has the voice of a much more mature...more
Dale Furse
Wow, this story was so different from what I usually read. It opened my eyes up to a place and a time, I hadn’t ventured into before. I really enjoyed Beem Weeks way of writing and the setting, a place that I, as an Aussie, could visualise. That’s what I want from a story, to take me to such different places. The book is definitely an ‘adults only’ story.

Characterisations were so good and I had so much hope for Emily ‘Baby’ Teegarten in the beginning. However, the author didn’t go that way. I en...more
J. Yates
Review for Jazz Baby written by Beem Weeks

It is an honour to write this review for a man who is such a magician with words, so much so that he should be classed as a poet.
Jazz Baby is a book not for the faint-hearted, as it is set in the raw, gritty and steamy world of the south of America in the 1920’s.
This book grabs you and lifts you up by the heels from the very start, and slaps you in the face with reality.
It is scarily real. You will be transported into a very different world, like when...more
Clive Mullis
Jazz Baby is an atmospheric dip into southern America in the 1920’s. It follows the story of Emily Ann as she hits adolescence; as she sings and explores life, life explores her.

I enjoyed reading this book as it was both light and dark. The prose flowed well and jogged along at the right pace. The dialect was no problem for me even though I’m a Brit, I thought it brought to life both the era and place.

My only gripe is with the main character’s reaction to certain situations. What should have aff...more
Wendy Storer
This is just a fabulous novel, packed with atmosphere, unusual characters, rich language and bags of plot. The story of Emily Ann Teegarten, a determined 13 year-old girl who has her sights set on singing jazz and will let nothing stand in her way. Her beautiful voice carries her through adversity and abuse, just as the narrative voice carries the readers through some desperately sad and difficult scenes.

The writing here really is something special; oozing ambience and evoking 1920s Southern Ame...more
This is a wonderful time piece of early 20th Century Mississippi. Beem Weeks did an outstanding job taking the reader through the journey of Emily Ann (Baby) Teegarten. Baby's voice brings tears to the women in her church but she wants more. She wants to sing Jazz. Baby, a young white pre-pubescent girl does not fit the "Jazz Scene". She tries valiantly to be welcomed into the black speakeasies. Baby's struggle to make it as a Jazz singer takes her through many troubling times and puts her into...more
Joy Lo-Bamijoko
Jun 21, 2014 Joy Lo-Bamijoko rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: friends
Recommended to Joy by: #RaveReviewBookClub
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
B.A. Spicer

This was my first download from the Rave Reviews Book Club selection and I must say that it is a spellbinding piece of writing.
Set in Mississippi in the 1920s there is masterful detail of lives led on either side of the river, and Emily Ann Teegarten is the daring young protagonist whose dream of making it as a jazz singer finds her taking risks a young girl cannot hope to get away with all the time. I was immediately bewitched by her outspoken ideas and tenacity, her naivety and her curiously...more
Clarissa Simmens
“Jazz Baby” is like reading an autobiography because at no time in the narrative does Emily Ann Teegarten ring false. Not only did I forget that Beem Weeks is the author—instead of Emily—but I also forgot that the author is a man, not a coming-of-age young female teen. The voice of Emily is so alluring in print, that it doesn't take much imagination to understand that she has an incredible jazz voice, one that can make even judgmental church ladies cry. But only a New York speakeasy will prove t...more
Kelly Smith Reviews
Emily Ann (AKA “Baby”) Teegarten is a teen with a dream: she wants to go to New York to sing jazz, but first she needs to get out of Mississippi and her little one-horse town. The only way to do that is to trust her papa’s best friend, Tanyon Thibbedeaux, who can get her into New Orleans to get her start. But her start is rocky as her first attempt at singing in Frank Rydekker’s jazz club ends in a riot and a rape and then a family tragedy: Emily Ann’s mother killed her father and is now sitting...more
Glenda Findley
A surprisingly good first novel as you can see from my star rating. You will not find a synopsis or ending spoiler.

First, the story takes place in the South during the Roaring Twenties. I applaud the author for telling the sociological dark side of the Roaring Twenties.

Mr. Weeks delivered good characterization, yet, written in first person, a difficult concept to carry through to the end. The dialogue was good, with use of colloquialisms, yet, for me, far too much in the narrative causing this...more
Harmony Kent
I purchased this book after finding the author on Rave Reviews Book Club.

Wow. What can I say?

Well, I'll start by giving an outline of what the book is about:

This fast paced, realistic novel is set in 1925 Mississippi. All "Baby" Teegarten wants to do is sing Jazz. It seems that fate has other plans, however. In the end she has a fight on her hands just stayin' alive.

The story contains some gritty scenes, some of which may be distressing to some readers. It explores sexuality and drug taking, as...more
Rave Reviews Book Club
I love reading great prose and to know that JAZZ BABY was Beem Weeks‘ debut novel, was really impressive to me . Emily Ann was a young girl growing up in 1920′s New Orleans and her voice, as strong as any teenager/young adult female’s voice, was carefully crafted by a MAN…this is what signifies true "talent" in a writer and this is the main reason that I’m giving this read 5 stars! Weeks had to have done his research and the proof is in the writing.

I will have to admit, though, that amid the gre...more
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Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks 2 5 Apr 15, 2014 09:56AM  
Greetings! My name is Beem Weeks, a divorced father of two. I am a writer and a reader--though not necessarily in that order. I have written the historical fiction/coming-of-age novel Jazz Baby, which is available at http://www.tinyurl.com/bbj4my7. I have also authored several short stories. I write in many different genres but prefer the coming-of-age tales--since we all go through the various tr...more
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