Nat Hentoff

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One of the top jazz writers of the 1950s, Nat Hentoff's insightful chapters on Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and Thelonious Monk in his classic book The Jazz Life are quite detailed and memorable.…
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Rights of Swing
One of the top jazz writers of the 1950s, Nat Hentoff's insightful chapters on Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and Thelonious Monk in his classic book The Jazz Life are quite detailed and memorable. Hentoff attended Northeastern University and Harvard in the '40s, had a radio show on WMEX in Boston (1944-1953), and was inspired by the local Boston area jazz scene. In addition to The Jazz Life, Hentoff co-edited Hear Me Talkin' to Ya with Nat Shapiro (the book followed the history of jazz up to the mid-'50s through the words of jazz's greatest players), co-edited Jazz with Albert McCarthy, wrote The Jazz Makers, was the associate editor of Down Beat from 1953-1957, and was co-editor of the short-lived Jazz Review (1958-1961). Hentoff founded and ran the Candid label during 1960-1961. During the company's brief existence, Hentoff produced important sessions by quite a few artists including Charles Mingus, Phil Woods (Rights of Swing), Benny Bailey, Otis Spann, Buell Neidlinger (featuring Cecil Taylor), and Abbey Lincoln. By the mid-'60s Hentoff largely drifted away from jazz, writing about social and political issues. On an occasional basis over the ensuing years, however, he penned liner notes for such diverse artists as David Murray and Teresa Brewer. Hentoff died at his home in Manhattan in January 2017 at the age of 91.