For a musician, serious about his music, literate, academically committed, prepared to practice hours every day, with a clear business head and an equally professional approach to all gigs whether they be to his taste or not, music was not only a labour of love, it was good business. Musos worked 6 nights a week, often 2 gigs a night. Arranging, copying and studio recordings kept them busy when not gigging.
These were the pre-digital days before home theatres, computers, the internet - when music rode on the back of liquor and vice and if you wanted to study jazz on a campus, you borrowed a fortune and went overseas to Berklee. A night club typically employed a band most nights of the week, served dinner and presented 'floor shows'. Illegal but tolerated gambling establishments flourished, providing ample funds to support lavish entertainment budgets in small venues. Every muso owned the 'uniform' - a dinner suit. These were the days when the public 'went out' (most nights of the week, it seemed to the musos plying their craft on stage!).
This is the story of Hank Kelly whose love of music, dedication and dreams of success are common to all 'pro-musos'. He is the quintessential muso from that earlier time - career oriented and dedicated to the pursuit of self development, more often than not along the pathway of jazz while plying his craft in the seedy clubs and bars that constituted the muso's workplace"
Available for $29.95 AUD from Music Park.
Read all about it - in 'MUSO'.
Review by Lew Smith: President & Musical Director, Jazz Fremantle and former jazz writer for the Sunday Times Newspaper
"Among the WA music fraternity Mike Nelson is well-known as a superb jazz
pianist, composer, arranger, singer and educator. Adding further to his skills,
in his mid-fifties he also took a new career path gaining a diploma in mechanical
engineering - and Mike now builds high frequency communications equipment.
If that was not enough he has produced a novel called - MUSO - under his more formal title of Michael Nelson. As with all his endeavours Mike has shown meticulous application and thorough research in locations, geography, period and dialogue.
MUSO is much more than the career and activities of a peripatetic pianist. It is also a gripping and gritty thriller, an engaging love-story and a fascinating look behind the scenes of nightclub entertainment in 1970s and 80s Perth and London.
No doubt musicians will find things to relate to and music fans will learn a bit of the dedication and difficulties that a jazz artist has to suffer to progress in a world of entertainment. However, Mike has laced his story with humour and pathos that will appeal to all readers. As a first novel this is an outstanding effort and I am pleased to recommend it to you. I hope it will not be the last time Michael Nelson puts pen to paper - or is it digit to laptop."