Sunday, January 08, 2017

All That Jazz

I always wanted to like jazz. I did like some jazz (Dixieland, Swing, and the vocal jazz that I sang as part of a junior high ensemble), but I wanted to like jazz as such. So I studied it. Conclusion: I liked reading about jazz more than I liked jazz.

The reason I liked reading about it so much came down to a few books about jazz in my high school library, by one particular author, sometimes in collaboration with another. This one particular author could really write. It was easy to fall in love with a particular jazz artist just from reading about him, if the person writing about him was this one particular author, and even if I just really didn't get that artist once I found some vinyl.

This one particular author also wrote about civil liberties issues, especially free speech. When I went looking for more of his jazz stuff at my local public library, I flipped to his name in the card file and found The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America. Good stuff.

Then a few years ago, this same author popped up at the Cato Institute, once again hitting on civil liberties issues. Cool.

His name was Nat Hentoff. He died yesterday. He was 91. Jesse Walker has more at Reason.

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