Victory is assured Uncollected writings of Stanley Crouch

Stanley Crouch

Book - 2022

"The grievous loss of Stanley Crouch, one of America's most renowned intellectuals, is underscored by the posthumous appearance of these remarkable essays. With Stanley Crouch's untimely death in 2020, American literature lost "a critic without peer" (Ta-Nehisi Coates). Born in Los Angeles in 1945, Crouch-a towering stylist, fearless columnist, and without question, one of the finest jazz critics of all time-was Rabelaisian both in stature and in intellectual appetite. Beloved yet cantankerous, Crouch delighted and enflamed the passions of his readers in equal measure, whether writing about race, politics, literature, or music. In these essays-some discovered on his computer, unpublished until now-Crouch tackles sub...jects ranging from Malcolm X ("a thorned bud standing in the shadow of sequoias") to the films of Quentin Tarantino ("With Django, Tarantino has slipped down . . . into a shallow and bloodstained hip-hop turn that his own best work has well-refuted"). Introduced by Jelani Cobb, with an afterword by Wynton Marsalis, and collected by his longtime editor Glenn Mott, Victory Is Assured canonizes the legacy of an inimitable, indispensable American critic"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 814.54/Crouch Checked In
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation [2022]
Main Author
Stanley Crouch (author)
Other Authors
Jelani Cobb (writer of introduction), Wynton Marsalis, 1961- (writer of afterword)
First edition
Physical Description
xxx, 460 pages ; 24 cm
Includes index.
  • Preface: Great Bouts to Come
  • Introduction: The Championship Rounds
  • Prologue of Blues and Swing to Be There, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
  • Part 1. Outlaws and Gladiators
  • After the Rain
  • Look Out Moan We Standing Round
  • When Watts Burned
  • Diminuendo and Crescendo in Dues: Duke Ellington at Disneyland
  • Jazz Lofts: A Walk Through the Wild Sounds
  • Laughin' Louis Armstrong
  • Comrade, Comrade, Where You Been?
  • Big Star Calling
  • The King of Constant Repudiation
  • An Epic American Hero: Buddy Bolden
  • Thinking Big: Max Roach and Cecil Taylor
  • Cecil Taylor's Pianistic Fireworks
  • Great Escapes
  • Marvin Gaye's Interconnections
  • Saint Monk
  • Fighters
  • Ellington the Player
  • The "Scene" of Larry Neal
  • The Incomplete Turn of Larry Neal
  • Uptown Again
  • An Opera Based on Malcolm X
  • Premature Autopsies
  • Part 2. Swing Time
  • Los Angeles: Jazz
  • Invention of the Self: John Coltrane
  • Kansas City Swing and Shout
  • The Street: 1944
  • Lowdown and Lofty, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
  • 1000 Nights at the Village Vanguard
  • Remembering Buddy Rich
  • Fusionism: Wayne Shorter/Dexter Gordon
  • Black Like Huck
  • A Bird in the World
  • Miles Davits, Romantic Hero
  • Blues for Krazy Kat
  • Noir Americana
  • The Electric Company: How Technology Revived Ellington's Career
  • I've Got a Right to Tap My Feet Inside of the Machine
  • The Colossus: Sonny Rollins on the Bandstand
  • A Baroness of Blues and Swing
  • A Song for Lady Day
  • Part 3. In Defense of Taboos
  • Voluptuary
  • Harold Cruse
  • Invention on the Black Willie Blues
  • The Admiral and the Duke
  • Shut Up, Scarlett!
  • Bette Davis: The Greatest White Bitch of All
  • The Impeccable Sidney Poitier
  • Tarantino Enchained
  • Then and Now, I Am a Negro
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Goose-Loose Blues for the Melting Pot
  • The Lies That Blind: Black Girl / White Girl
  • Joyce Wein's Life and Death, a Model for All of Us
  • By Any Means Necessary
  • Blues for Note and Paint
  • Steel City Swing
  • Pimp's Last Mack: Death RE quest
  • Black and Tan Fantasy: A Letter from the Blues
  • Afterword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Review by Booklist Review

Crouch (1945--2020) was a protean figure in American letters, a formidable cultural critic of astounding breadth and depth who read and listened to everything and eventually wrote about most of it. Whether expounding on jazz, film, painting, politics, or race, he was unfailingly thought provoking and often controversial, a writer who, according to Greil Marcus, "could infuse doubt into anybody's certainties." This volume brings together his uncollected essays, which cover the full range of his obsessions, from insightful and revealing celebrations of jazz greats Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, and Sonny Rollins, through incendiary criticisms of Malcolm X and James Baldwin (and a contentious defense of the word "Negro"), to lacerating attacks on hip-hop. His outspokenness--some would argue wrongheadedness--would prompt attacks from all variety of critics, including his fellow Black intellectuals, but Crouch's bedrock humanism always shines through, even at his most polarizing. Above all, there is his wildly free-flowing, metaphor-rich prose, rolling across the pages in sheets of sounds like a John Coltrane solo. A moving afterword by Wynton Marsalis caps off this fine retrospective.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Stanley Crouch's development as a critic is on full display in this standout collection of 58 essays, described by Mott in his preface as a sort of "intellectual autobiography." "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Dues" is a stunning account of Duke Ellington playing at Disneyland in 1973, while "The King of Constant Repudiation" delivers a takedown of what Crouch considered phony activism: he writes of critic LeRoi Jones that "he has almost completely traded-in a brilliant and complex talent for the most obvious hand-me-down ideas, which he projects in second-rate pool hall braggadocio." Nor did Crouch sympathize with hollow notions of machismo--he writes in "Miles Davis, Romantic Hero" about finding in Davis's performances "public visions of tenderness that were, finally, absolute rejections of everything silly about the version of masculinity that might hobble men in either the white or the Black world." Most of all, it is Crouch's abiding humanism that comes through, casting a critical eye on "those 'race men,' Black or white, who think they love Black people but only as receptacles for theories that use data to remove the mystery from life." This is an essential collection for fans of Crouch's writing, or anyone interested in the art of cultural criticism. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A sterling collection of essays and other pieces by the eminent critic and music historian. As Mott writes, Crouch (1945-2020) was "a physical intellectual up from the streets of South-Central L.A. who never lost the presentation of himself as a slightly dangerous and not-to-be-fucked-with individual." There's not much evidence of the street-fighting-man stance here, though when Crouch turns it on, as with a delightful takedown of Joseph Epstein, it can raze whole city blocks. Few writers were as well schooled in the history of jazz as was Crouch, and one of the many high points here is a restored chapter from the unpublished second volume of his life of Charlie Parker, which finds Parker in a musical duel with an offending Dizzy Gillespie: "His rage took him to altissimo extremes of the alto, notes from that register came like darts, then he swooped all the way down, his horn honking and grunting, then suddenly moved to smooth melodic lines, sensual and ethereal in their translucency." The author explores the genius of John Coltrane, whose musical evolutions stand as "proof that a man can invent himself," and he offers a thoughtful reflection on George Herriman, whose "Krazy Kat" comic strip never quite gave away his multiracial roots but that elevated comic art to the level of slapstick, a medium that "is as democratic as death, which plays by no rules other than its own." Though keenly attuned to currents in Black intellectual life, Crouch is equally at home discussing John Ford's movie The Searchers and the "knuckleheads" of every ethnicity that one sees on daytime TV. The author also deftly assesses the best and the worst of the Blaxploitation films and the evolving but incomplete thought of Malcolm X. The book features an introduction by Jelani Cobb and an afterword by Wynton Marsalis. Testimony to a remarkable intellect and essential to any student of modern cultural criticism. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.