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

Released: 28/03/2018

ISBN: 9781788037631

Format: Paperback

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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!

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Nicky Gentil

Nicky Gentil (nee Jenkins) is a British national who has lived in Paris since 1988 where she began her career as a translator shortly after obtaining her degree in French and German from Oxford University. Upon reaching her mid-forties she took up jazz improvisation, initially just for fun, but soon discovered a true passion for it.

She first wrote this book, which documents her somewhat unusual, unexpected, journey with music, in French and it was published in March 2016 under the title "La jazz-girl passionnee et son devoue accordeur" (Editions Beaurepaire).

A married mother of two, today in addition to her writing and translation work she performs piano jazz in public whenever she can.

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