Nat Hentoff, an inspiration passes - www.jewishaz.com: Obituaries

Nat Hentoff, an inspiration passes

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Nat Hentoff

Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 2:40 pm

Nat Hentoff, who died Jan. 7, once called himself “a member of the Proud and Ancient Order of Stiff-Necked Jewish Atheists.” I wouldn’t have known what that meant when I first read his columns in the Village Voice five decades ago.

Although I’ve learned a lot since, all I knew then was that his byline appeared on some very good writing about jazz and American culture, and that he was extremely prolific. His byline seemed to appear everywhere I looked – the New Yorker, Playboy, HiFi/Stereo Review, and even Commonweal, a Catholic magazine – not to mention the liner notes of such albums as “The Freewheeling Bob Dylan” and many, many jazz albums. So many albums that Esahn Khoshbakht, who describes himself as an “Iranian film critic/curator and architect with a passion for jazz,” writes on his blog “Take the ‘A’ Train”: “Any attempt to compile a discography of albums whose liner notes are written by Nat Hentoff will be needing a team of ten devoted researchers who could go through thousands of not only jazz albums for major labels, but also material recorded for long defunct obscure ones and beyond jazz, for pop, easy listening, folk and country music.” He says a comprehensive database or anthology of his liner notes alone “would prove to be one of the most invaluable examples of music criticism and journalism” in the 20th century.

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