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Jazz pianist Evan Horne, settled into the San Francisco jazz scene, takes a gig in Los Angeles, where he's offered his most unusual job yet. Mega movie star Ryan Stiles hires Evan to teach him to look like he's playing piano for an upcoming film role. Evan stays at Stiles' lush Malibu home for the tutoring, but suddenly things go wrong with the arrogant, spoiled star. Stiles' adversarial relationship with the paparazzi explodes when a photographers is killed. Was it an accident or is Stiles himself a suspect? Evan wants out, but Stiles' manager dangles the opportunity for Evan to score the film if he stays. Stiles is cleared but when the film begins, another mysterious death occurs, and somebody is blackmailing the star. With help from his FBI girlfriend, Andie Lawrence, and Lt. Danny Cooper, Evan launches his own investigation to help clear Stiles. To further complicate things, Evan's old nemesis, serial killer Gillian Sims escapes from prison.
Pianist Evan Horne's European interlude lands him a gig in Amsterdam, where the old jazz clubs are alive and well. But here he unexpectedly finds himself reliving the last days of legendary trumpeter Chet Baker, who died under mysterious circumstances. Did Baker fall from a hotel balcony or was he pushed? The answers lead Horne on an odyssey into one of the greatest mysteries of the jazz world--and beyond. Horne's longtime buddy Ace Buffington, in Amsterdam researching the late jazz great's life and tragic death, has disappeared. Ace's trail parallels that of Baker's last days, so Horne does what he does best: improvise. He finds himself following the same path into Baker's dark--even dangerous--past and confronting his own deep-rooted melancholy. In the smoky clubs and on the mean, exotic streets of Amsterdam, Horne hits all the right notes in a world where playing it by heart can make you a legend as easily as it can get you killed.
After several months of successful work in London and Amsterdam with American expatriate Fletcher Paige, Evan Horne returns to the states and settles in the San Francisco Bay Area. There he reunites with his girlfriend, FBI agent, Andie Lawrence. And Evan quickly makes inroads into the Bay Area jazz scene. Life is good until a phone call from a Los Angeles attorney turns his life upside down. Evans old friend and former mentor, pianist Calvin Hughes, has died, and named Evan as his sole beneficiary. Evan is shocked to learn that Hughes has left him his small Hollywood house, money, and all his possessions. But when Evan begins to play through some hand-written sheet music, he recognizes one as a song from the landmark Miles Davis recording Birth of the Cool, and another from Kind of Blue, arguably one of the most important recordings in modern jazz. Was Calvin Hughes the uncredited composer of one or both of these tunes, or was it simply Hughess transcriptions from the recordings? In addition, Evans finds a cryptic note, and a photo taken almost 40 years earliera young Cal with his hand on a baby carriage. Both are taped to the bottom of a dresser drawer. A friend of Cals Lisa Gaines will continue to take care of Milton and rent from Evan. Evan is soon on a whirl-wind journey across the country to find answers from his family and to confront his mother. What was her relationship with Calvin Hughes? And just how did Jazz come into the equation?
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