Reviews that mention Max Roach

August 11, 2014

On Screen

The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Notes on the Life of Nat Hentoff
David L. Lewis (First Run Features)

By Ken Waxman

Ask most serious jazz writers who they would like to be when they grow up and the answer would likely be Nat Hentoff. For almost 70 years, Hentoff, now 89, has been involved with every aspect of jazz. At the same time he has been a staunch First Amendment advocate, defending absolute freedom of expression.

Produced and directed by David Lewis, The Pleasures of Being Out of Step is an intelligent 90-minute profile, weaving together frank interviews with Hentoff, his advocates and detractors, archival footage and audio, and it does an excellent job of placing the writer within political, journalistic and sociological currents. When he wasn’t writing about jazz, Hentoff was involved with the Civil Right and Anti-War movement was a friend of Malcolm X and Bob Dylan (he did the first serious interview with Dylan), a defender of Lenny Bruce (a clip of Hentoff cajoling a stoned Bruce into coherence is included) and debated everyone from conservatives like William F. Buckley to representatives of the Woman’s Movement. “Nat loves conflict,” his wife Margot says. Although Hentoff never missies an opportunity to return to the First Amendment, even citing Max Roach’s linkage of jazz’s group improvising with the American constitution, his importance to jazz is illuminated throughout. MORE

November 3, 2013

Arrivals/Departures-New Horizons in Jazz

Stuart Broomer, Brain Morton & Bill Shoemaker
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Book shelf: By Ken Waxman

Distinguished as much for its scholarship as the artful, mostly color photos and illustrations which make it an attractive souvenir, this 240-page volume is published by Lisbon’s annual Jazz em Agosto (JeA) Festival to mark its 30th anniversary of innovative programming. It says a lot about the individuals who program JeA that rather than commissioning a vainglorious run-down of the festival’s greatest hits, they turned to three respected jazz critics to profile 50 of the most important musicians, living or dead, who performed at the festival. MORE

September 20, 2000


Beijing Trio
Asian Improv Records AIR 0044

Jon Jang is a genre-bender who isn't afraid of a challenge. A former college wrestler turned pianist, he showcased his hammerlock on the Eastern and the Jazz tradition with such heavyweight partners as saxophonist David Murray and flautist James Newton four years ago with TWO FLOWERS ON A STEM (Soul Note 121253-2).

If that sextet outing wasn't impressive enough he's upped the ante still farther with this disc. Accompanies only by erhu (Chinese two-string violin) player Chen who also played impressively on TWO FLOWERS, he's moved into the champion leagues by creating the Beijing Trio with her and veteran drummer Roach.