This is a first novel by the director, producer and dramatist, Garson Kanin, whose short stories have appeared in Esquire, Vogue and the Atlantic Monthly. Written in the first person and told in flashback this is a dramatist's recollections of his early days in jazz -- during the depression and the close of prohibition. While in Chicago, on tour with his actress wife, the narrator receives a phone call from a forgotten Lee Woodruff which brings back a flood of impressions and memories of their small combo shaped and led by Woody. Through a haze of half remembered incidents he recalls the growth of their trio into a sextet, the men who gave the group impetus and the women who were tenuously involved with the band. Woodruff, now an emotional wreck, unable to play, in and out of hospitals, insists upon unburdening himself to the narrator and attempts to explain the eventual failure of their group. He blames himself for the death of their drummer, a Negro, through jealousy, warped feelings of inferiority, desperate hate,and feels impelled to ""atone"". His death, later, under similar circumstances -- presumably an overdose of drugs -- sheds little light on the enigma of Woody but it does draw the former members of the group closer together and enforces the realization that they had a good thing while it lasted. This is more interesting in its segments than as a whole and demonstrates a sporadic virtuosity which would lend itself more favorably to short pieces.