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de Koenigswarter [née Rothschild], Baroness [Kathleen Annie] Pannonica  

Gabriel Solis

(b London, England, Dec 10, 1913; d Weehawken, NJ, Nov 30, 1988). American jazz patron of British birth. She was born a member of the British aristocracy, and a child of the English branch of the Rothschild family. As a young woman she married a French Baron, and shortly thereafter moved to New York. In the United States Pannonica (known as Nica) developed close relationships with a number of leading jazz musicians and became a major patron of jazz. She became known to musicians as a sympathetic ear and source of material support. In addition to financial help, she used her social position to intercede on behalf of musicians facing legal problems. Most famously, in 1957 she was instrumental in securing the return of Thelonious Monk’s license to perform in Manhattan nightclubs after it had been suspended due to questionable drug-related charges. Not simply a dilettante, Nica became a key member of New York’s jazz world. Her commitment to the musicians she knew famously led her to care for Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk through each one’s death. The Baroness’s importance in jazz can be seen in the many songs dedicated to her, including Monk’s “Pannonica,” Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream,” Sonny Clark’s “Nica,” and Kenny Drew’s “Blues for Nica.”...