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The Jazz Critic Of 'Fresh Air' Speaks

I've admired Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead's recommendations since well before I started working at NPR Music — he's one of the few critics who helped me realize that tons of jazz musicians are still making vital, wholly exciting music. So I'm glad to see that Lee Mergner, the editor of JazzTimes, had the chance to interview Whitehead about his new book, Why Jazz? It's a short primer on jazz appreciation designed for the novice, but I certainly picked up some insights and facts (especially since he's devoted a chapter to "Jazz After 1980: The Postmodern Period," which many jazz histories gloss uneasily). It's a breezy read in question-and-answer format, and it's as necessary as ever these days, as distant as jazz has become to the general population. Whitehead explains more, and talks about his career in jazz journalism, in the interview. [JazzTimes: Kevin Whitehead: Jazz Answers & Questions]