Nat Hentoff who had a long, twinned career writing passionately (and influentially) about jazz and civil liberties died Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.
In David L. Lewis’s documentary portrait of Nat, “The Pleasures of Being Out of Step” (2013), Nat said, “The Constitution and jazz are my main reasons for being,” calling “James Madison and company”…“those improvisers” and stating that “jazz, a life force, comes from democracy…freedom is the common denominator in the music and the First Amendment.”
Nat was my much-admired colleague at The Village Voice (where he wrote for 50 years), despite that I wholly agreed with former Voice editor Karen Durbin’s pro-choice position, which often put her often at ferocious odds with him over abortion rights.
The first time I photographed Nat, my plan had been to shoot him in his Voice office. But we shot just outside it–the office, famously chockablock, wouldn’t accommodate my tripod and light stands.