The Reluctant Art, first published in 1962 and long out-of-print, stands as one of the most important books on the art of jazz. Comprising five studies—of Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Parker (with the addition of an essay of Art Tatum for this new edition)—Benny Green's humorous, eloquent, and often angry book attempts to point out the gulf between the reality of the jazz musician and his music, on the one hand, and the romantic conceits of early jazz writing and fandom, on the other. Green, himself an excellent early jazz musician, was one of the first jazz writers to bring to the task firsthand knowledge of the music, and this illuminates his understanding of the factors involved in jazz innovation. He discusses jazz in terms of musical and social history, retelling the over-mythologized stories of these great artists with a unique combination of joyous irreverence and acute critical insight, of inspired metaphors and masterly knowledge. Benny Green's classic book swings with the same energy and passion as the timeless music it discusses.
Arts-Photography, Music, History-Criticism,