Crouch roots his celebratory vision of American democracy in a comparison of that system to jazz, which he calls "the highest American musical form because it is the most comprehensive, possessing an epic frame of emotional and intellectual reference, sensual clarity and spiritual radiance. Extending the comparison, he writes: "The demands on and the respect for the individual in the jazz band put democracy into esthetic action.
This is the ground on which Mr. Crouch praises such heroes of his as the writers Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, both of whom he reveres for pulling in "all of the highest intellectual aspirations and achievements from the world over" and combining them with "the democratic complexities so inherent to our nation.
Crouch loves the stew of American democracy, the ferment of nationalities; what he calls the "gumbo" of our culture and "our miscegenated identity as Americans. Crouch's words, "are doomed by their genes to be less intelligent than white people.
Crouch simply asserts that "no matter your definition of Afro-American culture, there is, quite frankly, no Afro-American race. This outlook also permits him to belittle the threat of black anti-Semitism on the theory that "Negroes and Jews" share a "tragicomic sensibility, as it has translated itself into music, dance, comedy and drama. Finally, Mr. Crouch's love of jazz is most evident in sentences he writes that roll on and on, dipping and soaring like a trumpeter laying out a lick.
For instance, of Dizzy Gillespie, he writes, "He rose from the position of an odd fish to a star surfer riding the high, high curving water of a trend, sank into the position of those miracles taken for granted, but periodically returned to view, dripping with new wisdoms, beckoning as others followed him on the thin boards of art and entertainment that those who make their name in jazz must ride, atop the roller coaster waves of public taste, swinging all our blues in a fickle brine where they are forever at peril.
This improvisatory style works well for him when it takes surprising turns, like pulling in a quote from Thomas Mann's book "The Coming Victory of Democracy" to illustrate his point about the convergence of jazz and democracy. But Mr. Crouch's style can also go astray. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!.
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The All-American Skin Game, or The Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994
Synopsis About this title A collection of essays by a controversial writer and critic provides an iconoclastic view of race in American culture and society, and considers such topics as blues, the myth of the rebel, and Dizzy Gillespie. From the Inside Flap : ection of essays long and short, the hugely controversial critic and author of Notes of a Hanging Judge gives us a refreshingly iconoclastic view of race in American culture and society. Buy New Learn more about this copy.
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