Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz
Basic Civitas Books
, 2006 - Music
- 359 pages
Stanley Crouch-MacArthur "genius" award recipient, co-founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center, National Book Award nominee, and perennial bull in the china shop of black intelligentsia- has been writing about jazz and jazz artists for over thirty years. His reputation for controversy is exceeded only by a universal respect for his intellect and passion. As Gary Giddons notes: "Stanley may be the only jazz writer out there with the kind of rhinoceros hide necessary to provoke and outrage and then withstand the fulminations that come back." Now, in a long-awaited collection, Crouch collects fifteen of his most influential, and most controversial pieces (published in Jazz Times, The New Yorker, the Village Voice, and elsewhere), and includes two new essays as well. The pieces range from the introspective "Jazz Criticism and its Effect on the Art Form" to a rollicking debate with Amiri Baraka, to vivid, intimate portraits of the legendary performers Crouch has known. The first, autobiographical essay reflects on his life in jazz as a drummer, a promoter, a critic, and most of all a lover of this quintessentially American art form. And the closing essay, about a young Italian saxophonist, expresses undaunted optimism for the worldwide vibrancy of jazz.Throughout, Crouch's work reminds us not only of why he is one of the world's most important living jazz critics, but also of why jazz itself remains, against all odds, an elemental component of our cultural identity.