Fritz Agency
Published by
Tin House Books (April 2003)
Current material


Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood

by Albany, A.J.

The movie based on A.J. Albany's memoir starring Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage, was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.
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"One day we're walking down the street, passing a newsstand, when I stop and pick up a magazine (maybe Life) with Thelonious Monk of the cover. I kiss it, and say, 'Hi Monk.' Dad, combusting with pride, picks me up, looks at me with those beautiful gray-green eyes, and says: 'From now on, you're not just my baby, you're my ace-one-boon-white-coon.' That, he would claim, was the day we forever connected, and became more to each other than everything."

So begins Amy Albany's life with her father, the legendary though obscure jazz pianist Joe Albany. Joe played with the likes of Charles Mingus, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Dexter Gordon. In red-boothed, booze-drenched Hollywood nightspots, chances were you'd find Albany's daughter tucked behind the bar, curled on someone's fur coat, while her father played his set. Teddy bears were for other kids - Amy slept with a '78 of Louis Armstrong's 'Sugar Blues', and later with a photograph of the man himself inscribed 'To little Amy-Joe, always in love with you-Pops'.

Written with gritty honesty, LOW DOWN is Amy Albany's extended improvisation on growing up, first appearing in Tin House Magazine, where it attracted the attention of Greil Marcus in his Real Life Rock Top Ten. Wise beyond her years and hip to the unpredictable ways of Old Lady Life at all too early an age, Albany guides us through the dope and deviance of the late 1960s and early 1970s jazz scene in Hollywood's underbelly and beyond. What emerges is a raw and often sad portrait of a young girl trying to survive amongst the outcasts and misfits who guided her life.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Fritz Agency
Christian Dittus

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Cinematography Award at Sundance film festival for the movie adaptation.

Award News: Client

Best Actress Award for Elle Fanning in the movie adaptation at Karlovy Vary film festival

Award News: Client

Official film trailer

Movie/TV/Drama: Client

France: Nouvel Attila;

Foreign licence: Client

"Thanks to her judicious use of humor, the book is truly affecting rather than maudlin, even in its most tragic moments. Albany employs an episodic structure that allows her the freedom to record events and memories in a way that seems true to her fragmented, tumultuous childhood. Though slim, Albany's well-wrought memoir contains emotional and lyrical volumes."

Review: Publishers Weekly

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