Race & Jazz
To the Editor:
Under the guise of shining light on an important issue, Terry Teachout [“The Color of Jazz,” September], has revealed a rather dim and cliché-filled vision of the jazz world. First, he bemoans the release of a recent collection of jazz recordings, Black Legends of Jazz, which, he says, . . . chronicles a new low in racial divisiveness. Does he not know about the mid-60′s, when racial stratification in jazz was far more pronounced than it is now? And what of the Black Giants of Jazz album that Columbia issued in the 70′s?
Of greater significance is Mr. Teachout’s trashing of two of our most eloquent writers, Albert Murray and Stanley Crouch, both of whom have done so much to foster a more honest . . . union between blacks and whites. If Murray . . . chose to focus on black artists in his book, Stomping the Blues, so what? If, in this estimable tome, he wished to explore the blues, why not deal with the folks who created the blues? Murray’s analysis of the transmutation of the blues from a twelve-bar structure which began as accompaniment to a rigorously unsentimental world view into a marvelously coherent and profound vision of black life in America is a great accomplishment. . . .
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