Past Event

The Year in Jazz: A Critics Roundtable

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem hosted a special event in their Harlem Speaks series, which features interviews with icons of the jazz world. Five leading music critics converged to discuss The Year in Jazz in this critics roundtable, hosted and moderated by Nate Chinen, the music critic from The New York Times. The panel represented a diverse range of perspectives and publications such as The New York Times, NPR Music, JazzTimes, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and The Village Voice, including Larry Blumenfeld, Greg Tate, Seth Colter Walls and Kevin Whitehead. They talked about the music, the artists, and the moments that shaped jazz in 2013, touching on a host of issues and ideas in the process — and answered a few burning questions from the audience.

Hosted and Moderated by:
Nate Chinen, Music Critic for The New York Times. Check out his post on this event on his blog, The Gig, here

Larry Blumenfeld, critic, journalist and blogger (Wall Street Journal
 and other publications)
Greg Tate, writer, musician, producer and a former staff writer at The Village Voice 
Seth Colter Walls, culture critic/reporter for Slate, the London Review of Books and more
Kevin Whitehead, jazz critic for NPR’s Fresh Air

Moderator bio:

Nate Chinen is a music critic for The New York Times and a columnist for JazzTimes. His work appears in Best Music Writing 2011 and in the recent anthologies Miles Davis: The Complete Illustrated History and Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt. He has received multiple honors from the Jazz Journalists Association, including the Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Review and Feature Writing, and Best Book About Jazz, for Myself Among Others: A Life in Music, which he wrote with impresario George Wein.

Panelist bios:

Greg Tate is a writer, musician, and producer, who lives in Harlem. From 1987-2005 he was a Staff Writer at The Village Voice. Since 1999 Tate has led Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, a 14-25 member Conducted-Improvisation ensemble based on Butch Morris’s patented Conduction system. Tate's writings on culture and politics have also been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Artforum, Rolling Stone, VIBE, Premiere, Essence, Suede, The Wire, One World, Downbeat, and Jazz Times.  He was recently acknowledged by The Source magazine as one of the ‘Godfathers of Hiphop Journalism’ . Tate has also written for the Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum In Harlem, the Tate Museums in London and Liverpool. His writings about visual art includes monographs and essays about Chris Ofili, Wangechi Mutu, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ellen Gallagher, Kehinde Wiley and Ramm El Zee.    His books include Everything But The Burden: What White People Are Taking From Black Culture (Harlem Moon/Random House, 2003), Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and The Black Experience (Acapella/Lawrence Hill, 2003); Flyboy In The Buttermilk, Essays on American Culture (Simon and Shuster, 1993). Next year Duke University Press will publish Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader. His play, My Darling Gremlin (with live music score by Lawrence Butch Morris) was produced at Aaron Davis Hall in 1993 and at The Kitchen in 1995. His short feature film Black Body Radiation was completed in 2006. He also collaborated on the librettos for Julius Hemphill’s opera Long Tongues (the Apollo Theatre production) and for Leroy Jenkins’ Fresh Faust, (the Boston ICA production).

Larry Blumenfeld writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal. His work has also appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications, and websites including Salon and Truthdig. His popular “Blu Notes” blog can be found at: He is editor-at-large and columnist for Jazziz magazine. Among his honors are fellowships from the National Arts Journalism Program and The Open Society Institute, and the Jazz Journalists Association’s Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Writing. His essays have appeared in collections including “Best Music Writing, 2008” (Da Capo Press). His recent collaboration with the National Jazz Museum In Harlem resulted in a month-long series of panel discussions and performance focused on the New Orleans jazz culture under the title of “Tuning into Treme.”

Kevin Whitehead is the longtime jazz critic for NPR’s Fresh Air and author of Why Jazz? A Concise GuideNew Dutch Swing (about improvised music in Amsterdam), and Instant Composers Pool Orchestra: You Have to See It (with photographer Ton Mijs). He has written about jazz for many publications, and his essays have appeared in such collections as Discover Jazz and Traveling the Spaceways: Sun Ra, the Astro-Black and Other Solar Myths. Whitehead has taught at Towson University, the University of Kansas and Goucher College, and lives near Baltimore.

Seth Colter Walls is a culture critic and reporter whose recent work has appeared in Slate, the Bafflerthe London Review of Books, and the New Yorker online.