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Joe Trace - in his fifties, door-to-door salesman of beauty products, erstwhile devoted husband - shoots to death his lover of three months, impetuous, eighteen-year-old Dorcas. At the funeral, his determined, hard-working wife, Violet - who is given to stumbling into dark mental cracks - tries with a knife to disfigure the corpse. Jazz is the story of a triangle of passion, jealousy, murder and redemption, of sex and spirituality, of slavery and liberation, country and city, of being male and female, African American, and above all being human.

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