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New York Is Now!: The New Wave of Free Jazz by Phil Freeman

There is a certain truth to first-time author Phil Freeman’s titular assertion that New York is now. Riding only The New Wave of Free Jazz, however, Freeman doesn’t give us the full breadth of the jazz underground in New York. There’s a whole lot more music going on in the Apple than Freeman, a converted hard rocker who fell metalhead over heels a few years ago for the music, gives us in his slender appraisal of the scene around the annual Vision Festival. The book only shabbily covers the Lower East Side, let alone the entire city.

Anyone who has paid attention to the NYC scene in the past five years will not learn anything by reading this book. Although the book makes no pretense of being a history of free jazz, it certainly lacks a sense of appreciation for the music and musicians of its past. New York Is Now! is better considered as a scene primer, sort of like NYC Free Jazz for Dummies. But New York Is Now!’s assertions are so general, conclusions so weak and topic so narrow that it is difficult to recommend it to anyone.

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