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Nate Chinen: The Smithsonian Box, Continued

More commentary on Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology

JAZZ: The Smithsonian Anthology

In the most recent edition of my column, I weigh in on Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology, a six-CD set released in March. The main thrust of my argument has to do with the ultimate significance of the thing, at this heavily canonized juncture in jazz’s history. What does it actually matter, a full decade into this inter-webbed century, when some committee drops this summarizing document like a phone book on the doorstep? Given the availability of so much information—including the various judgments of previous canonologists—what was the possible relevance here?

I posed that question to the anthology’s producer, Richard James Burgess, who stammered a moment but then formulated this well-reasoned reply:

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Originally Published
Nate Chinen

Nate Chinen

Nate Chinen is the director of editorial content for WBGO and a longtime contributor to JazzTimes, which published 125 installments of his column “The Gig” between 2004 and 2017. For 12 years, he was a critic for The New York Times; prior to that, he wrote about jazz for the Village Voice, the Philadelphia City Paper, and several other publications. He is the author of Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century (2018) and the co-author of George Wein’s autobiography Myself Among Others: A Life in Music (2003).