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Archive for the tag “jazz”

Village Voice cans Nat Hentoff

Village Voice editors have been walking through their newsroom with a machete cutting jobs for the past several months and those cuts have included some pretty big names. Yesterday, the axe fell on Nat Hentoff, the legendary columnist who has been with the paper for 50 years.


Initially a jazz writer, Hentoff is probably best known for his columns about civil liberties in which he famously declared himself pro-life and supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Why tyrants are afraid of the power of music

It’s not just a myth that rock n’ roll can save your soul. In a New Statesman article, writer Paul Evans examines the history of the musician vs. the state and how music’s destabilizing force scared the bejeezus out of some leaders. It’s a quick, fact-filled read.

Here is an interesting quote from the article about how Nazi Germany feared American jazz:

Jazz was despised by Nazi Germany, which regarded its devotees as dangerous race traitors. An absurd set of regulations issued in 1940 shows that it was not only the culture of jazz, but its very rhythms that were regarded as dangerous. One decree read: “So-called jazz compositions may contain at the most 10 per cent syncopation; the remainder must form a natural legato movement devoid of hysterical rhythmic references characteristic of the music of the barbarian races and conducive to dark instincts alien to the German people.”

The article also discusses the strained relationship between composer Dmitiri Shostakovich and Mother Russia: the composer would not write propaganda music for the Soviets and was pretty much blackballed.

It’s not all high brow stuff either: In 1965, Israeli forces banned a performance by The Beatles fearing the band could galvanize teen-age immorality.

The fear of music is still strong in some parts of the world. Didn’t the Malaysian government ban Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne from performing in its country just a few weeks ago?

This may be the first time in history a blogger compared Avril Lavinge to the Shostakovich.

Let’s cool down with Duke Ellington

Here is Duke Ellington and his orchestra performing Take the A Train, my favorite of his hundreds of compositions. To me, Ellington defines sophistication. He’s the suavest man who ever lived. Check him out back in the 1940s:

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