Culture

Remembering The Life of Jazz Critic and Author Stanley Crouch

Remembering The Life of Jazz Critic and Author Stanley Crouch

Another legend joins the ancestors.

Renowned jazz critic and author Stanley Crouch died the morning of Sept. 16 at the Calvary Hospital in New York following nearly a decade of serious health issues, according to an announcement by his wife, Gloria Nixon-Crouch. He was 74. 

Crouch was born Dec. 14, 1945, in Los Angeles, where his mother encouraged his love of reading and writing from a young age. He became an active member in the civil rights movement in middle school and became a Black Nationalist following the Watts riots. He began taking up jazz and publishing Black Nationalist poetry while leading theater troupes and teaching literature at Pomona College. In 1975 he moved to New York, becoming a culture critic at the Village Voice. 

He published his first collection, Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989, in 1990 and then produced several critically acclaimed works, including Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker. He received many honors during his life, becoming a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant and an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship. Last year he was named National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master.

"I've been applauded by Black bus drivers, subway drivers, mechanics, various people who have come up to me and said, 'I'm sure glad somebody is saying it,'" Mr. Crouch told the New York Times in 1993. "That's enough for me."

Thank you for shining your light on the world, Stanley. 

Photo Credit: Louis Armstrong Foundation