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Final Chorus: The Newest Jazz Generation

Jazz has given me many unexpected startling pleasures. Years ago, at Basin Street East in New York, Sonny Stitt suddenly broke into a stop-time chorus, without the rhythm section, and all conversation stopped. It was as if time itself had stopped, but was still swinging.

Five years ago, at Arbors Records’ March of Jazz in Clearwater, Fla.-a tribute to Ruby Braff on his 74th birthday-Sonny LaRosa’s “America’s Youngest Jazz Band, featuring Musicians Ages 6 to 12” was scheduled first on one of the mornings. Remembering what Charlie Parker famously said, “Music is your own experience…If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn,” I wondered how much these kids could have experienced.

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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.