Troubador The Jazz-Girl, the Piano, and the Dedicated Tuner

Released: 28/03/2018

ISBN: 9781788037631

eISBN: 9781838595586

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

Author Website

The Jazz-Girl, the Piano, and the Dedicated Tuner

Stories for Piano Enthusiasts and Novices Alike!


“The natural tone of Nicky Gentil’s richly anecdotal narrative will delight not only pianists and jazz enthusiasts but anyone who just happens to like pianos in general.” - Cadence Info Magazine


A collection of humorous, touching, unputdownable stories set in Paris, The Jazz-Girl, the Piano, and the Dedicated Tuner transports you into a feel-good world of jazz, pianos and the little-known art of piano tuning. An entertaining slice of life, regardless of whether or not you play a musical instrument, this book explores the world of Nina Somerville, an Englishwoman who - while others are going through a mid-life crisis - discovers by complete chance her true calling: jazz improvisation. In a bid to enjoy that passion to the full, she purchases the piano of her dreams - a Steinway baby grand - leading her to make yet another discovery: the intricate mysteries of the fascinating piano tuning profession.


Against the backdrop of the Eiffel tower and the Champs-Élysées, from the quest for the perfect sound to an unexpected chance to perform in public, music takes Nina on a journey which is at times improbable and hilarious, but equally moving, not to mention extremely informative.


Previously published in France, The Jazz-Girl has been greatly received, and has the interesting addition of being musically illustrated on the author’s YouTube channel with some characters playing pieces alluded to in the stories.

One of the many things I love about publishing a book is the subsequent trip it takes you on, as if the book itself begins to write its own story. All sorts of wonderful things happen such as my waking up one morning this week to receive this amazing message: "Thank you for sharing your experiences. This is a valuable piece of literature for us piano technicians." These comments came from an American piano tuner who is currently reviewing my book for the Piano Technicians Journal.

In France, the 21st June is National Music Day (Fete de la Musique) and, to celebrate it, I shall be playing jazz and giving a talk on my book in WH Smiths of Paris, located just near the majestic Place de la Concorde. When first I moved to Paris, some thirty years ago, this shop was my regular source of English books and newspapers. Never in a million years, though, would I have thought, back then, that one day I might actually find myself presenting my own book there! But as I said, publishing a book seems to be but the mere beginning of one truly exciting trip and book presentations are all part of it!!

On 23rd November, I shall be giving a talk on my book and bringing some of the scenes to life on the piano at the Nantwich bookshop in the town where I grew up. It's really quite amazing to be going back there in my capacity as an author!

The Piano Corner

PTA News

Piano Tuner Association


Nantwich News

Couleurs Jazz

Short stories are good as you get an interesting variety of subjects. I like the stories but as someone who doesn't read music I found this book quite tricky to get along with but I loved the passion of the writer for her instrument and her music. I think someone who understands piano's and music would love this book.

by Julie

I just loved this delightful book! Gentil has a deft way with words and this book celebrating her love of jazz, her struggles to get her piano to the perfection she hoped, and the piano tuner who did this and who became her friend. I was so happy to see this book which went into the author's musical life in more depth and I enjoyed it as much as her first book which revolved around stories she'd learned on taxi rides.
I'm looking forward to hearing more from her.

by Janet

Absolutely delightful book and a fascinating insight into the world of piano tuning. Perhaps most importantly this book raises funds towards the tuning of pianos in Africa so you can buy the book knowing that your money is helping others with a love for this beautiful instrument.

by Boogie girl

The title is as intruiging as the stories Nicky Gentil tells are unusual. Where else does one hear about one person’s relationship with a piano and the tuner she finds, in and amongst her own discovery of blues and her path to performing as a jazz pianist? These stories are bookended by Nicky’s account of how she came to write them, and the reasons for her choices about how to present them. Her enthusiasm and passion are evident all the way through, conveyed in her own distinctive narrative form.
We learn how the discovery of her perfect pitch throws the Jazz Girl into conflict and despair at times as she seeks to be able to unveil the intrinsic beauty of her piano, and the rewards of not giving up on a quest. And we learn too how Nicky is using the sales of her book to cover the costs of Parisian tuners going out to look after the pianos in the Arbre à Musique music school in Yaounde, Cameroon. What could be better!

by Paddock Roses

Nicky Gentil

In 1988, fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in French and German, Nicky Gentil moved to Paris to pursue a career in translation.

Some twenty years later - having acquired a husband and two children along the way! - she took up jazz improvisation on the piano, rapidly discovering a great passion for it, so much so that, in 2016, she published a book on the subject. Her first published work, LA JAZZ-GIRL PASSIONNEE ET SON DEVOUE ACCORDEUR (Editions Beaurepaire), is a light-hearted, feel-good account of her unexpected road to jazz.

The book received an overwhelmingly positive response at France's 2016 EuroPiano Congress. Consequently, at the suggestion of the English-speaking attendees and in light of numerous requests from family and friends in the UK, she translated her work into English. It was published in March 2018 under the title THE JAZZ-GIRL, THE PIANO, AND THE DEDICATED TUNER (Matador Publishing).

In October of that same year, she also published PETITS DIALOGUES EN TAXI (Editions Beaurepaire) - a collection of around thirty tales recounting some of her more memorable cab rides since moving to France - in celebration of her thirtieth anniversary in the capital.

TAXI TALES FROM PARIS is the English version of that work.

Today, Nicky Gentil divides her time between her writing, translating her writing and her various musical activities.

  • Buy as a printed
  • £10.99

  • 4 customer reviews
Also by Nicky Gentil / Related Books