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Jay Chattaway is a name well known to those both in and outside the music industry, and his life and achievements have now been committed to writing, in a new biography authored by his wife, Terri Potts-Chattaway, an accomplished writer, producer, poet and more. As a “Graduate of the School of Star Trek” where her start as a production assistant on Star Trek: The Next Generation began, it is no surprise and highly appropriate that she has chosen to cite “The Inner Light” in the book’s title, considering it has arguably become Jay’s best-known work.

Far from being a dry factual recounting of events and curriculum vitae that many biographical works often present as, the author uses a conversational storytelling tone to share an intimately personal look at the composer. The book takes the reader on a literal journey through the recounting of trips to places significant to Chattaway’s youth and adulthood, crossing the country from East Coast to West Coast, and even over to Cuba. Major world events also feature as part of the backdrop to illustrate the external influences that shaped the man who ultimately became a prolific composer.

A 3D view of the book

Woven through this tapestry, each section of the book always returns to Jay’s two great passions – sailing and music. Both feature journeys which draw the reader in and bring an overall harmonious centre to his story.

The decision to name sections of the book after significant film scores and other pieces of music composed and arranged by Chattaway himself – along with his own commentary on each – is a brilliant choice. It encourages the reader to seek out works they may not be familiar with and showcases a range of diversity. Each title also accurately represents the contents of the section and presents things in, again, a more story-like style than following a rigid structure of a purely chronological writing.

The book’s back cover

The final section brings us back to the masterpiece that is “The Inner Light”. This part of the book is where we see the poetic soul of the author take centre stage, as she puts to words the essence of the music that has made it so iconic, accessible and profound as to become a career-defining piece in a body of many amazing works.

Throughout the book – both personal and professional – are thoughts, memories and moments shared with many of the cast who have been part of Jay’s life, including musical legends like Carly Simon and James Taylor. There are moments where the author places herself in her husband’s shoes to relate how he must have thought in certain moments of conflict or uncertainty. Such instances make the reader feel like they are given an inner look, a very relatable way to bring to life a man whom the audience likely knows only from his music. There are humorous anecdotes, there is pain both in personal and professional life, there is love and loss, conflict and triumph – all the elements of a good story, except in this case the story is true, and relatable. Many humorous situations, a few naughty prank stories, and other moments keep the book light and show a side of Chattaway that many other biographers might otherwise leave out; here, they’re deftly dropped in, almost like a literary version of scherzo.

The book also includes several photos taken throughout the life and career of Jay Chattaway, a lovely inclusion that puts faces to names and takes the reader through a variety of locations, including the studio. One picture in particular will delight and amaze musicians, visual artists and Star Trek enthusiasts alike.

Delta5

To sum it up, Journey to the Inner Light is a book for musicians whether they’re already fans or newer to discovering Jay’s career, fans of other major players whom he has collaborated with, non-musician fans of Star Trek and other filmed productions, and dare I say sailing enthusiasts. Musicians will love to chew over the musical details and deep dive into the creative process, of which there is extensive detail. The sailors among us will love the beautifully written passages of being on the open water and descriptions of various water craft, and those looking to add to their library of biographies will enjoy the easy-going style of writing. At just under 300 pages, this is neither a long-winded nor rambling read, just a wonderful journey to the inner light… and beyond.

Journey to the Inner Light is due to be published on 15th June 2024.

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