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Considering Genius by Stanley Crouch

When writer and jazz critic Stanley Crouch was fired in the spring of 2003 from his gig as a monthly columnist for this magazine, the ultimate compliment to Crouch, as a relevant jazz critic, came from revolutionary poet and playwright Amiri Baraka. Baraka, a superb jazz critic over the years, defended Crouch’s right to express his unpopular views regarding the music and remarked, “Music is the one thing” Crouch “knows something about…” (The Village Voice, May 14-20 2003). Of course, the irony of Baraka speaking up for Crouch is that Crouch has made it a point to trash Amiri Baraka numerous times over the years.

I am sure Baraka would enjoy much of Crouch’s latest book, Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz, despite his staunch disagreement with Crouch’s politics and the fact that Crouch often seems to fall over himself to praise the music just as long as it conforms to his own well-known aesthetic guidelines: the blues, swinging, improvisation, cooperation and then some more blues.

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