At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene by Nat Hentoff

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff, well known jazz critic, civil liberties activist, and fearless contrarian--"I'm a Jewish atheist civil-libertarian pro-lifer"--has lived via a lot of jazz's background and has identified a lot of jazz's most crucial figures, frequently as pal and confidant. Hentoff has been a tireless suggest for the missed elements of jazz historical past, together with forgotten sidemen and -women. This quantity comprises his top fresh work--short essays, lengthy interviews, and private memories. From Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to Ornette Coleman and Quincy Jones, Hentoff brings the jazz greats to existence and lines their artwork to gospel, blues, and plenty of different kinds of yankee song. on the Jazz Band Ball additionally comprises Hentoff's prepared, cosmopolitan observations on a variety of concerns. The ebook indicates how jazz and schooling are an important partnership, how unfastened expression is the essence of liberty, and the way social justice matters like future health care and robust civil rights and liberties retain all of the arts--and all contributors of society--strong.

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They were playing Duke Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What Essentially Duke (and Wynton) 25 They Used to Be,” and I was surprised, and impressed, by how deeply they got into his music. ” I told them that when I was in my early twenties in Boston, he was a mentor of mine when he came to town, and he continued to be one in the coming years. On that November evening, the school band again played “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be,” as well as three other Ellington compositions. ” And the other sections were also resounding, playing tributes to Ellington.

Beyond the Process 15 In truth, although I studied harmony briefly and clarinet much longer before I began writing about the music, I’m not at all qualified to analyze “the process” as, for example, Gunther Schuller does so impressively. Yet as Gunther reminded me recently, when Thelonious Monk first began to record, a number of critics very knowledgeable about “the process” largely regarded him as exotic, hard to label and difficult. But in Down Beat, where I wrote many of the record reviews, I kept trying to indicate how joyously and challengingly original he was as a pianist and composer.

Among future releases, he told me proudly, is a Ben Webster boxed set. And in the mail a couple of weeks ago, I found a harvest of more Storyville “Masters of Jazz” sets—Sidney Bechet, Teddy Wilson, Johnny Griffin, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holliday and Earl Hines. With four children and six grandchildren to remember in my will, I may well include these CDs in my bequests along with The Duke Box. ” “It’s a matter,” said Duke, “of whether you want to play music or make money, I guess. I like to keep a band so that I can write and hear the music the next day.

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