In The New York Times, Barry Singer has an update to the story of the remarkable Baroness
Pannonica de Koenigswarter, friend and supporter of major musicians including Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. The Baroness is seen here with Monk in a well-known photograph. She died twenty years ago. Singer writes:
A Rothschild heiress, she offered her home to countless jazzmen as a place to work and even live, while quietly paying their bills when they couldn’t find work. She chauffeured them to gigs around New York, toured with them as a kind of racial chaperon, and was even known to confront anyone she felt was taking advantage of her friends because they were black.
“I always likened her to the great royal patrons of Mozart or Wagner’s day,” the saxophonist Sonny Rollins said in a telephone interview. “Yet she never put the spotlight on herself. I try not to talk publicly about people I knew in jazz. But I have to say something about the baroness. She really loved our music.”