Stanley Crouch

born on 14/12/1945 in Los Angeles, CA, United States

died on 16/9/2020 in New York City, NY, United States

Stanley Crouch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Stanley Crouch (born December 14, 1945) is an African-American poet, music and cultural critic, syndicated columnist, novelist and biographer,[1] perhaps best known for his jazz criticism and his novel Don't the Moon Look Lonesome?


Crouch was born in Los Angeles. During the early 1970s, he moved from California to New York City, where he shared a loft with tenor saxophonist David Murray above an East Village club called the Tin Palace. He was a drummer for Murray and with other musicians of the underground NY 'jazz loft' scene. Also a poet, he released a 1969[2] album on the Flying Dutchman jazz label entitled Ain't No Ambulances For No Nigguhs Tonight. While working as a drummer, Crouch conducted the booking for an avant-garde jazz series at the club, as well as organizing occasional concert events at the Ladies' Fort.

In Ken Burns' 2005 television documentary Unforgivable Blackness, Crouch says that his father was a "criminal" and that he once met the boxer Jack Johnson.

Since the early 1980s, Crouch has become critical of the more progressive forms of jazz and has been associated with the opinions of Albert Murray. Crouch was fired from JazzTimes following his controversial article "Putting the White Man in Charge" in which he stated that, since the 1960s, "...white musicians who can play are too frequently elevated far beyond their abilities in order to allow white writers to make themselves feel more comfortable about being in the role of evaluating an art from which they feel substantially alienated."[3]


Jazz critic Alex Henderson assesses Crouch as a "rigid jazz purist" and "a blistering critic of avant-garde jazz and fusion..."[4] Of fusion Crouch wrote, "We should laugh at those who make artistic claims for fusion."[5] In The New Yorker Robert Boynton wrote, "Enthusiastic, combative, and never averse to attention, Crouch has a virtually insatiable appetite for controversy."[6] Boynton also noted "Few cultural critics have a vision as eclectic and intriguing as Stanley Crouch's. Fewer still actually fight to prove their points."[6]

Crouch is also a fierce critic of gangsta rap music, asserting that it promotes violence, criminal lifestyles and degrading attitudes toward women.[7] With this viewpoint, he has defended Bill Cosby's "Pound Cake Speech"[8] and praised a women's group at Spelman College for speaking out against rap music.[9][10]

In the 1990s, he upset many political thinkers when he declared himself a "radical pragmatist".[11] He explained, "I affirm whatever I think has the best chance of working, of being both inspirational and unsentimental, of reasoning across the categories of false division and beyond the decoy of race".[12]

His syndicated column for the New York Daily News frequently challenges prominent members of the African American community. Crouch has criticised, among others, author Alex Haley, the author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Roots: The Saga of an American Family;[13] community leader Al Sharpton;[14] filmmaker Spike Lee;[15] scholar Cornel West[16] playwright Amiri Baraka;[17] as well as Tupac Shakur, in reference to whom he wrote "what dredged-up scum you are willing to pay for is what scum you get, on or off stage."[18]

In 2004 Crouch was invited to a panel of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own Award, a $25,000 award designed to protect speech as it applies to the written word.[19]

In 2005, he was selected as one of the inaugural fellows by the Fletcher Foundation, which awards annual fellowships to people working on issues of race and civil rights. The fellowship program is directed by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University.[20]

Association with Wynton Marsalis and Ken Burns

Famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis has called Crouch "my best friend in the world" and "mentor", causing some to describe Crouch as "The Eugene Landy of jazz."[21] The two met after Marsalis, at age 17, came to New York to attend the Juilliard School.[21] The two have shared a close relationship ever since,[21] Crouch having written liner notes for Marsalis' albums since his debut album in 1982.[22]

When Marsalis served as "Senior Creative Consultant" for Ken Burns' 2001 documentary Jazz, Crouch served on the film's advisory board and appears extensively.[23] Some jazz critics and aficionados cited the participation of Marsalis and Crouch specifically as reasons for what they believed to be the film's undue focus on traditional and straight-ahead jazz.[24][25]

After Jazz, Crouch appeared in other Burns films, including the DVD for the 2002 remastered version of The Civil War and the 2004 documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.[26]



Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz
The Artificial White Man: Essays on Authenticity
Kansas City Lightning: The Life and Times of Young Charlie Parker
The All-American Skin Game, or, The Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994
Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989
Reconsidering the Souls of Black Folk, with Playthell G. Benjamin
Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives
In Defence of Taboos
One Shot Harris: The Photographs of Charles "Teenie" Harris


Don't the Moon Look Lonesome? (2004)
Ain't No Ambulances For No Nigguhs Tonight (1972)


  1. Garner, Dwight, Stanley Crouch's Kansas City Lightning,' on Charlie Parker, The New York Times, 10 October 2013.
  3. Crouch, Stanley, Putting the White Man in Charge, Apr 2003. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  4. Henderson, Alex. Stanley Crouch - Biography. allmusic. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  5. Crouch, Stanley, Four-Letter Words: Rap & Fusion, Mar 2002. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Boynton, Robert J., The Professor of Connection, 6 Nov 1995, pp. 97116. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  7. Crouch, Stanley, Fatal Attraction: Rappers & Violence, 12 Mar 1997. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  8. Crouch, Stanley, Some Blacks Stand Tall Against the Buffoonery, 27 May 2004. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  9. Crouch, Stanley, Hip Hop Takes a Hit; Black Women Are Starting to Fight Rap's Degrading Images, 23 Apr 2004. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  10. Boynton, Robert S.. The Professor of Connection: A profile of Stanley Crouch. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  11. Author unidentified (30 January 1995). "The 100 Smartest New Yorkers". New York Magazine, vol. 28, no. 5, p. 41.
  12. Crouch, Stanley (1995). The All-American Skin Game; or, The Decoy of Race. Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-679-44202-8.
  13. Crouch, Stanley, The Roots of Alex Haley's Fraud, 12 Apr 1998. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  14. Lamb, Brian (12 May 1996). The All-American Skin Game, or the Decoy of Race. Booknotes. C-SPAN. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  15. Crouch, Stanley, Nation in love with minstrelsy: Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, Snoop Dogg and struggle to define blackness, 25 Apr 2011. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  16. Crouch, Stanley, Cornel West is an expert showman but nothing more: The lead huckster of the Ivy League's takedown, 23 May 2011. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  17. Watts, Jerry Gafio. Amiri Baraka: The Politics and Art of a Black Intellectual, p. 203, New York: New York University Press.
  18. Crouch, Stanley, Tupac shows risk of being rapped up in stage life, 11 Sep 1996. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  19. PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. PEN American Center. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  20. Bernstein, Elizabeth, Giving Back, 15 Apr 2005. URL accessed on 26 May 2011.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Wynton Marsalis - Pulitzer Prize for Music. The Achiever Gallery. American Academy of Achievement. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  22. Wynton Marsalis - Credits. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  23. Jazz. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved on 2007-09-04.
  24. Stevens, Jan. On Ken Burns JAZZ documentary - and Bill Evans. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  25. St Clair, Jeffrey. The Aesthetic Crimes of Ken Burns: Now, That's Not Jazz. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.
  26. Stanley Crouch. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 26 May 2011.

External links

  • Stanley Crouch at the Internet Movie Database
  • Hammer Conversation with Stanley Crouch and Dana Goodyear January 18, 2006
  • Interview with Crouch, Loren Schoenberg, National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Martha Bayles
  • Brief biography
  • Interview with Crouch by Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus, mostly about "Considering Genius"
  • The Bull in the Black-Intelligentsia China Shop ( article; part of its "Brilliant Careers" series)
  • Booknotes interview with Crouch on The All-American Skin Game, or, The Decoy of Race, the Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994, May 12, 1996.
  • In Depth interview with Crouch, October 5, 2003
  • C-SPAN Q&A interview with Crouch, April 18, 2010
This page was last modified 19.04.2014 15:08:57

This article uses material from the article Stanley Crouch from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.