From the Toronto Star:
Projections: Doc sings the praises of jazz critic Nat Hentoff
Nat Hentoff’s music criticism is just one part of the wide-ranging life and times recounted in The Pleasures of Being Out of Step, a new documentary.
By: Jason Anderson Special to the Star, Published on Thu May 15 2014
The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: As insightful and influential as he’d be as a writer on jazz, Nat Hentoff was something more than a critic to many of the musicians he covered: he was a guy who really got it. That’s why Hentoff’s writings on artists like Miles Davis and Charlie Mingus in LP liner notes and the pages of Down Beat and his own magazine The Jazz Review remain indispensable.
Of course, Hentoff’s music criticism is just one part of the wide-ranging life and times recounted in The Pleasures of Being Out of Step, a terrific documentary profile that opens at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema this weekend. His long-running column for the Village Voice became a platform for his vigorous defences of American Civil Liberties and the freedom of speech as it applies to parties on all points on the political spectrum. All that makes for a sometimes contradictory and combative personality but it’s clear how much loyalty and admiration Hentoff inspires in colleagues like Amiri Baraki and Stanley Crouch. Both provide lively interviews in director David L. Lewis’ rich history of Hentoff, who’s still writing with his customary gusto at the age of 88. Lewis participates in a Skype Q&A after the first screening at the Bloor on May 16 at 8:45 p.m. The run continues to May 21.