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Jazz in Search of Itself Hardcover – October 11, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

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Kart is a genuine critic. He analyzes how a particular player sounds more closely than, it certainly seems, any other jazz writer who, like him, doesn't use musical notation to illustrate the discussion. In a piece on avant-garde saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, a listener-demanding musician, Kart describes the first 3 minutes of a 23-minute performance so concretely that one could easily check out his accuracy by listening to the same recording. By no means always so thoroughgoing, he still reliably gives readers enough solid information to aurally check up on him, and then to argue with as well as learn from his evaluations. Kart is also historically and sociologically well informed about jazz, enabling him to make cogent assessments of received opinion on historic performers such as Louis Armstrong; to ask informants the right questions or give them room to say arresting things (see the Frank Zappa interview); and to cogently critique whole movements (e.g., jazz revivalism in "The Neo-Con Game"). Ray Olson
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"A generous grab bag of essays and reviews by a shrewd listener with curious ears and an open mind."—Terry Teachout

"With great feeling, one of jazz’s most far-reaching and influential critics illuminates what jazz is, what it means (to its creators and to us listeners) and, crucially, what is valuable about it—what a joy to have this collection of essays at last."—John Litweiler, author of The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958

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