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Jazz Critic Stanley Crouch has died.

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Posted on September 18, 2020 at 06:46:42
Mike K
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Excellent article about him is here:

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/16/913619163/stanley-crouch-towering-jazz-critic-dead-at-74

He was never my favorite, but he knew whereof he wrote and he did it well.

Whether or not you can observe a thing depends upon the theory you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed. - Albert Einstein

 

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RE: Jazz Critic Stanley Crouch has died., posted on September 18, 2020 at 08:08:58
GEO
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For the life of me, I can't imagine why you were not a fan.

 

He was much more than and well beyond a jazz critic..., posted on September 18, 2020 at 09:50:45
musetap
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And when all is said and done, in the future he will be remembered
more as a writer of... Americana and American life in the 20th Century.

Extraordinarily brilliant and outspoken with great insights into... life.

That piece by Ethan Iverson is wonderful!

RIP Stanley Crouch, thanks for your contributions.

"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination"-Michael McClure


 

I can., posted on September 18, 2020 at 09:55:15
Rick W
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He called David Murray - then one of his best friends - the 'Trane of the '80's at a time when Murray couldn't play in tune. Then, when Murray greatly improved they had a falling out and Crouch bad mouthed Murray's music. Backassward and IMO criticism too influenced by friendship or lack thereof.

During one of my broke periods when I wasn't makin' enough money playing gigs and I had to return to cab driving part time I had Crouch in my cab along with what I'd guess was a student. It was a fairly long ride due to traffic and I heard around a half hour of Crouch expounding on various jazz related topics including players. To be honest it was a long time ago and I can't remember the specific things he said. But I do remember that it was hard to refrain from turning around and saying "What a crock of shit."

Its not that I have no respect for him as a writer or jazz historian/critic. I do and have enjoyed some of his writing. But he was very far from someone whose views I cared much about. Also waaay to convinced of his own righteousness.

 

RE: I can, too, posted on September 18, 2020 at 10:43:24
belyin
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The greatest jazz musicians I know never question their own worth, yet they retain a great humility and openness to what they don't know and don't (yet) comprehend. These are not the qualities that make one famous; Crouch seems to have embraced bombast, certainty, chutzpah, and egomania, and indeed he became the only jazz critic to ever blast his way into the mass media arena.

While in California Crouch was at the center of a scene of young musicians--David Murray, Arthur Blythe, James Newton, etc.--who after relocating to New York created the much of the most vital music of the late 70's and 80's. For awhile, Crouch was right there with them in New York still trying to play drums and promoting their work in the press. My cynical take is that once Reagan got elected, Crouch wet his finger and stuck it in the wind and decided it was time to change tack. He dropped his old associates and provided direction and muscle to the neo-con cause. And when he couldn't convince with reason he would revert to bluster.

As for Murray, I find all the neo-con slander in his direction comical. A jazz writer disciple of Crouch straight up told me that Murray "was a fraud; he can't even play a c-major chord." While ridiculous on the surface, it really tells me more about the writer's twisted criteria than about Murray. Perhaps Murray, who in so many ways a throwback to the heroic period of jazz, couldn't be dismissed as just a fire thrower or overly "European" like others associated with the "avant-garde" so the neo-cons had to resort to the sort of nonsensical charges so familiar to us in the age of Trump.

 

RE: I can., posted on September 18, 2020 at 11:32:20
GEO
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I am still not surprised that Mike K. doesn't like him. I wasn't a big fan either and I have my reasons why. As for Mike K. I am not surprised.

 

The funny and interesting thing about Murray is that he's remained..., posted on September 18, 2020 at 12:04:55
musetap
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creative and vital and productive for a LONG time despite what... ever.

Heroic indeed, but I can mostly leave the canon of his work I've heard in the past.

That being the opposite of my love of Arthur Blythe's music and sound, which
IMO remains timeless and brimming with brio.

Most of the 1980's and into the 90's I thought Crouch was an ahole, but at some
point (reading beyond his jazz talk) I realized he had a lot to offer, sometimes even
ABOUT jazz! He evolved, I relented.

Movements, labels, pigeon holes and the other stupid trappings of the human spirit
are just so ridiculous! Seemingly even more so in the "jazz scene".

"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination"-Michael McClure


 

RE: The funny and interesting thing about Murray is that he's remained..., posted on September 18, 2020 at 16:16:50
Cpwill
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I am quite fond of Murray's collaboration with Geri Allen and Terry Lyne Carrington, Perfection, on Motema, from back in 2017. One of Allen last releases, if I recall correctly.


"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." ― Thelonious Sphere Monk

Cpwill

 

RE: The funny and interesting thing about Murray is that he's remained..., posted on September 18, 2020 at 16:41:53
belyin
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Murray was so prolific his catalog is a bit hit or miss. My favorite of his recordings might even be his first "Flowers for Albert" on India Navigation as well as his octet recordings, and I love his bass clarinet work. Now that I think about his, he is the one "major" figure I have heard the most in person: the Octet in 1983 to the Ornette Coleman Prime Time reunions at Lincoln Center in in 2017, and along the way with The World Saxophone Quartet with African drums, the Gwo Kwa Masters, the quartet with John Hicks, Ray Drummond, and Andrew Cyrille, his recent Class Struggle quartet, a tribute to Julius Hemphill in a duet with Dave Burrell, various ensembles with Kidd Jordan, the amazing Ornette Coleman tribute in Prospect Park, and even a quartet set with New Orleans' stalwart (and Wynton associate) Herlin Riley. In person he has never been less than good, and has most often been stellar--and he always sounds like David Murray in an era when too many just sound like "jazz."

Unfortunately I only heard Arthur Blythe once--at the Chicago Jazz Festival in a tribute to Chico Hamilton w/Larry Coryell--so I never got to hear him play his music. "Lennox Avenue Breakdown" is a masterpiece, but the mastering engineer for the Columbia recordings must have been deaf--they are almost unlistenable with their piercing treble. I know they have been remastered in recent cd re-releases but I don't know if they have been improved.

 

RE: Jazz Critic Stanley Crouch has died., posted on September 18, 2020 at 20:33:05
fantja
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A great mind! R.I.P.

 

RE: The funny and interesting thing about Murray is that he's remained..., posted on September 18, 2020 at 22:19:20
musetap
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Nice to hear and read that about Murray. I lost track of his output years ago, having veered down other roads.

For some reason I only had the chance to hear Blythe live once, with The Leaders.

THAT was a fantastic show!!

He covered a lot of styles over the years and his more "bop" oriented stuff (in later recordings) doesn't move
me as much as his other strains, but man, his SOUND has always been amazingly compelling to me.

"Sounds" like Murray may have that effect on you!

To my ears Blythe incorporates the history of the music while remaining now, maybe akin to Jaki Byard in that regard.

Hey! Stanley Crouch has us discussing jazz!

From beyond the grave!!

Bravo!


"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination"-Michael McClure


 

Yeah, good reference re: Blythe/Byard. nt, posted on September 19, 2020 at 10:02:50
Rick W
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nt

 

RE: The funny and interesting thing about Murray is that he's remained..., posted on September 19, 2020 at 13:32:48
belyin
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I am a big Arthur Blythe fan as well, and alto is an unforgiving instrument. Funny story . . . The second of the records I produced with saxophonist Rob Wagner featured one of his first compositions for alto. Being terrible at naming his tunes, Rob turned to his New Orleans Klezmer All Stars bandmate (at the time) Jonathan Freilich who immediately quipped "like Arthur Blythe," so "Arthur Blythe" became the name of the tune. I gave a copy of the cd to Kidd Jordan (New Orleans free jazz legend and educator who actually put the World Saxophone Quartet together for the first time) who like it but said if Rob really wanted to sound like Arthur he needed to get a Buescher alto. I don't think it was Rob's intention to sound like Blythe, but now 15 years later he plays a Buescher anyway.

 

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