Instrumental TP
Publisher: Z2
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Price: $24.99
Creator: Dave Chisholm
Format: 224 pgs., Black & White, 7.5" x 10", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9408-7815-7
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

An unusual aspect of this graphic novel is that there is a soundtrack album separately available, which the creator composed and performed.  That’s what you get when a jazz musician creates a graphic novel, I guess.  Think of this story as the anti-La La Land, a darker and grimmer version of the obsessions of a jazz musician.

In this case, there are some surprisingly good visual images, but the story itself is an old one.  It’s sort of a Faustian tale of the kind that Rod Serling would have loved, about a jazz musician who cares so much for his music that he refuses to admit to himself the harm that he’s causing, as the story builds.

The artwork is mostly very good, but the style may put off some potential readers, being dark and raw.  Also, it has to convey some very strange things, due to the nature of the story, ranging from "normal" jazz clubs to secret societies to a party full of dead musicians. Individual sequences can be brilliant, though, with something as mundane as a drummer practicing to a metronome turned into an action sequence.  The storytelling is solid, but the main character may be too unsympathetic for some readers.

On the other hand, readers of darker, grimmer stories will enjoy adding this to their reading lists.  Think of it as a jazz counterpoint to comics like Rock Stars, but not quite as good in terms of the art.

Primarily for adults, due to violence and bad behavior.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.