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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dow30, Apr 26, 2006.
Stanley Crouch is a phony. And an opportunist.
As much as I hate sticking up for him, I think Stanley Crouch is a little more complex than you give him credit for. He is has a brilliant mind for analysis and criticism. His critique black-white race relations in the US is nuanced and articulate. He makes very intelligent arguements and sheds new light on issues that have been beaten into the ground time and time again.
Forone reason or another, however, he has shown incredible inconsistancy with his opinions on jazz and, particularly, Miles Davis. His critique of Birth of the Cool is valid, even if I disagree with him. Where he goes wrong is in his complete rejection of stylistic pluralism. It's Stanley's way of the high way, and unfortunately (in my opinion), people with pull in the jazz world listen to him.
Miles gives Crouch problems because of his constant evolution. Miles evolved in 10 year cycles at the beginning of his career. 1949: Birth of the Cool, 1959: Kind of Blue, 1969: Bitches Brew. Three very different records, and chances are everyone isn't going to like all of them. Crouch is more troubled than most by this evolution and he translates into "selling out." Crouch appreciates Miles from about 1955 through about 1967. He can't, and never will, appreciate Miles as an innovator. I get the feeling the Crouch would have similar issues with Stravisnky, or any other master artist who constantly reinvents himself. Although Wynton has evolved his art throughout his career, after the late 80s the changes came slow and subtly, not radically like Miles. Crouch like's a stable target, and Miles moved too fast.
"I donâ€™t care if a dude is purple with green breath as long as he can swing."
The actual quote - a response to a guy who asked Miles why he let an ofay like Lee Konitz play in his nonette, was, "I don't care if he's green. Do you know anybody else with a sound like that?"
What's your thoughts on Don't the Moon Look Lonesome ?
Also, I would be very interested in reading your thesis. I was out looking for Stomping the Blues last night; this isn't the first time I've ran across that title, it's time to find it.
email me at [email protected] and I will reply with a PDF of my thesis. I'm not very familiar with Crouch's novels, although I should probably look into them. I'm mostly familiar with his collections of essays.
If you're looking for Stomping the Blues, here's the library call number:
TC Music Library 781.57 M961 Regular Loan
It's worth taking a look at.
Personally, I think Wynton would have been better served if his early album jackets had just discussed the music instead of all the "crown prince of trumpet" and race relations commentary from Stanley Crouch. While the issues are certainly true I felt like that kind of commentary on an album jacket was unnecessary and widened divisions rather than bringing them closer together.
Thanks for the info and I'll take you up on your offer!
I like the idea of having insightful, thought provoking liner notes. Crouch's lines notes certainly were that. What I don't like is that, over time, the music seemed to describe the liner notes more than the liner notes described the music. I also don't like the completely subjective (unfair) treatment of Miles in the liner notes and also the essays.
You know the more I hear him speak in Ken Burns' series I tend to think he likes the sound of his own voice.
I personally don't read his notes anymore, but that's just me. You can read whatever you want into that.
Are you talking about the one on jazz or the one on Jack Johnson? He was a little long winded on the jazz one, but I kept thinking, why is this guy getting face time on a documentary about a boxer? I know Wynton did the soundtrack, but sheesh...