[JPL] No mercy: Hajdu on Kenton
nou.dadoun at gmail.com
Sun Dec 11 03:08:35 EST 2011
Hajdu is an interesting writer but he can be particularly infuriating - the
Lush Life biography was an enjoyable and informative read but he somehow
felt that he couldn't build Strayhorn up without tearing Ellington down
going so far as labeling Duke a dilettante whose later arrangements were
all substantially done by Strayhorn.
Likewise his book of essays Heroes and Villains takes a similar thumbs
up/thumbs down view of the world in which if you're not one, you're the
other. (His essays on Billy Ekstine and Michel Petrucciani in that volume
were worth the price of the book however.)
So given that some of Kenton's stuff is unlistenable (the old joke is that
it wouldn't swing at the end of a rope) and the controversy raised by his
daughter's biography, it's not surprising that Hajdu would put him in the
villain column and throw the baby out with the bathwater - that doesn't
mean that there's still some very fine music there ... N
On Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 8:56 AM, <EdBride at aol.com> wrote:
> Come on, David: don't pull any punches. What do you really think?
> This is one of the more extreme essays I've ever read about Kenton, and
> I've read them aplenty. Leonard Feather was once one of Kenton's biggest
> critics, but even he eventually came around, saying that Kenton's music had
> stood the test of time.
> Hajdu's vocabulary is certainly impressive, almost a metaphor for the music
> he is criticizing.
> There must be a name for this literary device.
> In a message dated 12/9/2011 11:49:32 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> tr at wfcr.org writes:
> BTW: I'm putting together my feature on Kenton for his centennial,
> digging deep in the Russo-Holman era of Kentonia.
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