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Stanley Crouch (born December 14, 1945, Los Angeles) is an American music and cultural critic, syndicated columnist, and novelist, perhaps best known for his jazz criticism, and his novel Don't the Moon Look Lonesome?



During the early 1970s, Crouch 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. 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.

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. An ardent proselytizer for the music of Wynton Marsalis, Crouch writes the liner notes for all the trumpeter's albums. Crouch was fired from JazzTimes following his controversial article "Putting the White Man in Charge",[1] in which he asserted that white critics elevate white jazz musicians beyond their abilities.

Crouch appeared in Ken Burns' 2001 documentary Jazz and served on the film's advisory board.[2][3] He also appeared in Ken Burns' 2004 documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.


Crouch has reacted violently to critics and detractors. At the First Annual Jazz Awards, Crouch was invited to present an award. While reading the nominees, he made disparaging comments about two of them: trumpeter Dave Douglas and pianist Matthew Shipp. After the show, jazz critic Howard Mandel, who was chiefly responsible for creating and organizing the Jazz Awards, confronted Crouch about his earlier comments. After a short argument, Crouch punched Mandel and then was confronted by Shipp, who called Crouch "an Uncle Tom and a fucking loser". However, the two were quickly separated and a brawl was avoided.[4]


Crouch is a fierce critic of gangsta rap music, noting it promotes violence, criminal lifestyles and degrading attitudes toward women. With this viewpoint, he has defended Bill Cosby's remarks (see the "Pound Cake Speech") and praised a women's group at Spelman College for speaking out against rap music. Recently several of his syndicated columns have been dedicated to these subjects.

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.

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; community leader Al Sharpton; filmmaker Spike Lee, scholar Cornel West and playwright Amiri Baraka, 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." [5] Crouch's controversial work has won him critical acclaim from some quarters.

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.

In the remastered version of Ken Burns' landmark PBS documentary series, The Civil War, issued on DVD in 2002, Crouch appears in the extra features section, making several penetrating and insightful comments on U.S. history and the Confederacy. His judgment of the military acumen of the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, is particularly negative.



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?
Ain't No Ambulances For No Nigguhs Tonight


External links

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