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The Gig at 100

Nate Chinen's JT column reaches a milestone

Nate Chinen
Nate Chinen at the Jazz Journalists Association Awards in NYC

Some milestones loom in the distance, dawning stately and slow. Others have a way of sneaking up on you from behind. I can’t decide which example applies more accurately to this column, the 100th installment of The Gig. Best, perhaps, to call it a draw and move along-but not before a few thoughts on what’s gone down in this space since the May 2004 issue of JazzTimes, when then-editor Christopher Porter graciously introduced yours truly as a jazz critic with “the eclectic tastes of today’s generation.”

I was 27. Honored and intimidated to be joining a columnist roster of Nat Hentoff and Gary Giddins (and previously Stanley Crouch), I took my first shaky steps with a rumination on the latest crop of jazz vocalists and their fealty to the sound of singers past. “Youth may provide the spark for their success,” I wrote, “but it’s precocity that lights the flame.” My point seemed to be that the irreducible benefits of time and age could produce a deeper luster than any blush of bright-eyed novelty. If there was a creeping self-referentiality somewhere in that line of argument, I doubt it was intentional.

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