Stanley Crouch

Stanley’s Contributions

May 2003    Jazz Alone

Piano Prodigy

What is actually going on out in the jazz world is very different from what one usually reads about in jazz magazines or what one would conclude from taking critics’polls seriously. There are musicians out here who not only can play but who have continued...

April 2003    Jazz Alone

Putting the White Man In Charge

Because Negroes invented jazz, and because the very best players have so often been Negroes, the art has always been a junction for color trouble in the world of evaluation and promotion. By the end of the ’20s, Duke Ellington was trying to get his buddies...

December 2002    Jazz Alone

Avant-Garde Roots Music

In 1959, when Ornette Coleman arrived in New York and opened on the Bowery with the quartet that included Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, there was no talk of a harmolodic system. He spoke of playing with natural raw feeling instead of technical...

November 2002    Jazz Alone

Jazz’s Own Sweet Time

Jazz drumming has no precedent in music history. It is an original way of putting together and playing drums and cymbals, which introduced a new kind of virtuosity demanding independent coordination of all four limbs. The swinging time jazz drummers keep—whether...

October 2002    Jazz Alone

The Negro Aesthetic of Jazz

Jazz has always been a hybrid. A mix of African, European, Caribbean and Afro-Hispanic elements. But the distinct results of that mix, which distinguished jazz as one of the new arts of the 20th century, are now under assault by those who would love to make...

September 2002    Jazz Alone

Coltrane Derailed

With McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones, John Coltrane found new ways to swing, play blues and ballads and use Afro-Latin grooves—the essential elements of jazz. But there are persistent questions buried deep in the John Coltrane mythos, ones that...

July/August 2002    Jazz Alone

Invisible American Music

With the exception of Ralph Ellison, John Kouwenhoven and Albert Murray, few major American intellectuals have routinely taken on the subject of jazz. One would think that a music as important to the definition and the achievement of this society would have...

June 2002    Jazz Alone

Maximum Roach

Max Roach is the most highly regarded drummer in the history of jazz, which he should be. At 78—and variously claiming now that he might not be playing again, or that he might be playing again, or that he is tired of playing, or that he has some new stuff...

May 2002    Jazz Alone

Festivals of Riches Gone By

It was so much easier to put on a noteworthy jazz festival in the past. In 1958, when George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival had taken off, one of the world’s great impresarios had the option to present nearly the entire history of this still-young music. The...

April 2002    Jazz Alone

The Place of the Bass

In 1947,George Pal made a classic puppetoon called “Tubby the Tuba,”which was the story of a tuba that wanted to go beyond oom-pahing all night and get the front-line attention given to those horns that played the melody. Dismissed as foolish by a class...

March 2002    Jazz Alone

Four-Letter Words: Rap & Fusion

We should not care if some rapper claims to be influenced by jazz. We should laugh at those who make artistic claims for fusion. Rap is finally being recognized as the minstrel update that it is. Threatening Sambo. Cursing Sambo. Whorish tramps who get cases...


September 2000    Features

The Genres: Stanley Crouch on Mainstream

The term mainstream jazz probably means less now than it ever has. Jazz is, now, itself and whatever else you can get away with. You can now play New Orleans style music and just about anything else, including 20th century European concert music clichés...


December 1999    Features

Duke Ellington: Artist of the Century

...Duke Ellington? Ellington, like Armstrong, was one of the inarguable sequoias of the music, easily the one who most developed his talent in every direction. While Louis Armstrong is surely the greatest of all jazz players, Ellington is the greatest of...

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About Stanley Crouch