NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF LITERATURE
AWARD-WINNING JAZZ CRITIC TO SPEAK ABOUT HIS NEW MASTERWORK ON THE HISTORY OF JAZZ
NYS Writers Institute, October 22, 2009
7:30 p.m. Reading/Discussion | Carl B. Taylor Auditorium, Schenectady County Community College, 78 Washington Avenue, Schenectady
Gary Giddins, leading jazz critic and bestselling biographer of legendary musicians, will speak about his newly published history of jazz on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME] in the Carl B. Taylor Auditorium of Schenectady Community College, 78 Washington Ave., Schenectady. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by SCCC’s Community and Cultural Events Committee and the New York State Writers Institute.
Gary Giddins, acclaimed music critic and biographer, earned the National Book Critics Circle Award for “Visions of Jazz: The First Century”(1998)— the first book on jazz ever to receive a major American literary prize. The “Washington Post” called “Visions of Jazz,” “the definitive compendium by the most interesting jazz critic now at work…. He knows his subject, his prose is interesting and graceful, his judgments are measured and fair, and the only camp of which he is a member is his own.” The “Los Angeles Times” book reviewer said, “Giddins is that rarity, a jazz writer with a genuinely engaging literary style who ranks with other masters of this elusive craft.... a landmark destined to occupy a permanent niche on the shelf of essential jazz literature.”
Giddins’ most recent work is “Jazz” (with music scholar Scott DeVeaux, October 2009), a massive, vivid, wholly original, scrupulously researched, and entertaining history of the musical form over the last hundred years. The “Publishers Weekly” reviewer said, “For a comprehensive take on what is often referred to as America’s classical music, there is ‘Jazz’… a doorstopper narrative of the genre as a whole…. The [authors] present one of the most comprehensive histories of the genre ever published, tracing jazz from its pre-20th-century roots to its contemporary practitioners in a book that will appeal to listeners, students and players….”
Giddins amassed a devoted following of readers for his “Weather Bird” column on jazz which appeared in the “Village Voice” for nearly three decades from 1974 to 2003. Early in his career, pioneering jazz critic Martin Williams called him, “probably the most impressive journalist ever to have written about music.” His writings and reviews have appeared in the “New Yorker,” “New York Times,” “Esquire,” “Atlantic,” “The Nation,” and elsewhere. He currently writes about music for “Jazz Times” and about film for the “New York Sun.”
Other notable books include “Natural Selection: Gary Giddins on Comedy, Film, Music and Books” (2006), “Weatherbird: Jazz at the Dawn of Its Second Century” (2004), “Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams—The Early Years, 1903–1940” (2001), “Faces in the Crowd: Musicians, Writers, Actors and Filmmakers” (1992), “Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong” (1988), and “Celebrating Bird: The Triumph Of Charlie Parker” (1999). Forthcoming books include “Warning Shadows” (2010), a collection of film essays, as well as a second, final volume of his Bing Crosby biography.
Giddins currently teaches at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.
His presentation is cosponsored by Schenectady County Community College’s Community and Cultural Events Committee and the New York State Writers Institute. For directions visit SCCC at www.sunysccc.edu or call 518-381-1200.
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute
at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.