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Final Chorus: Oprah & the Jazz Image

Preparing for an interview at New York’s Blue Note jazz club with Ron Carter—master bassist, cellist, challenging leader and compose—I read something he said in Jazz Improv-New York that is seldom said in public: “The black press, the black media has a great deal of responsibility for the lack of—and the possibility of—increasing the visibility and viability of jazz.”

In our conversation, Ron elaborated: “Papers like the Amsterdam News, the Chicago Defender, the L.A. Sentinel, the Pittsburgh Courier, assuming all of them still exist, they have a responsibility not just to advertise Kangol hats and the latest wedding and church services, but also to say, ‘This music is your contribution to more than your neighborhood!'”

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Originally Published
Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Over more than 60 years, Nat Hentoff (1925-2017) wrote about music, politics, and many other subjects for a variety of publications, including DownBeat (which he edited from 1953 to 1957), the Village Voice (where he was a weekly columnist from 1958 to 2009), the Wall Street Journal, and JazzTimes, to which he regularly contributed the Final Chorus column from 1998 to 2012. Of the 32 books that he wrote, co-wrote, or edited, 10 focus on jazz. In 2004, Hentoff became the first recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters award for jazz advocacy.