Gary Giddins

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Gary Giddins (2009)

Gary Giddins (born March 21, 1948 in Brooklyn ) is an American jazz writer, jazz critic, film critic and journalist.

Giddins grew up in Long Island and studied at Grinnell College in Iowa (graduated in 1970). From 1971 he was a freelance writer and from 1973 with the New York magazine Village Voice . He wrote his first jazz reviews through the mediation of Dan Morgenstern . He is best known as a longtime columnist from 1974 to December 2003 for Village Voice , where he had the Weather Bird column and wrote mostly about music (jazz), films and book reviews. He also wrote u. a. for The New York Times , The New Yorker , Esquire , The Atlantic , The Nation and currently (2007) for Jazz Times and The New York Sun (on film). He wrote biographies of Louis Armstrong ( Satchmo ) and Charlie Parker , about which he also made films. He also wrote a successful biography of Bing Crosby , which u. a. won the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award.

Giddins won a National Book Critics Circle Award for Visions of Jazz in 1998 and six ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards to date as a music critic. He was nominated three times for the Grammy , which he won in 1987 for the liner notes to Frank Sinatra-The Voice . In 2003 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Journalists Association. He was visiting professor at several universities (including Columbia University ) and a Guggenheim Fellow.

From 1986 to 1993 he organized concerts with John Lewis for the American Jazz Orchestra a . a. with musicians like Benny Carter , Gerry Mulligan , Dizzy Gillespie , Tony Bennett and David Murray . He also produced concerts a. a. for the JVC Jazz Festival in New York.


  • Riding on a Blue Note: Jazz and American Pop. Oxford University Press, New York 1981. Diane Pub 2000, ISBN 0-7567-6671-0 . (Collection of his Village Voice contributions, essays, columns, interviews)
  • Rhythm-a-ning: Jazz Tradition and Innovation. Oxford University Press, New York 1985. Da Capo 2000, ISBN 0-306-80987-7 . (Collection of essays on, among others, Ornette Coleman, the Marsalis Brothers, Monk, David Murray)
  • Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker. William Morrow, New York 1987. Da Capo 1999, ISBN 0-306-80892-7 .
  • Satchmo - The Genius of Louis Armstrong. Doubleday, New York 1988, Da Capo 2001, ISBN 0-306-81013-1 .
  • Faces in the Crowd: Musicians, Actors, Writers and Film Makers. Oxford University Press, New York 1992. Da Capo 2000, ISBN 0-306-80705-X . (Portr # ts of jazz musicians, the jazz critic Martin Williams, Gunther Schuller, Whitney Balliett, essays on film)
  • Visions of Jazz: The First Century. Oxford University Press, New York 1998, ISBN 0-19-513241-6 . (70 portraits of musicians)
  • Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams - The Early Years 1903-1940. Little Brown, 2001. Back Bay Books, ISBN 0-316-88645-9 .
  • Weather Bird: Jazz on the Dawn of its Second Century. 2004, ISBN 0-19-530449-7 . (Essay and reviews collection from 1990 to 2003)
  • Natural Selection: Gary Giddins on Comedy, Film, Music and Books. Oxford University Press, New York 2006, ISBN 0-19-517951-X . (Essays)
  • Bing Crosby Swinging On a Star: The War Years 1940-1946 . Little, Brown, 2018


  • Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker 1987, for PBS
  • Masters of American Music: Satchmo - Louis Armstrong aka Satchmo 2000, for PBS
  • Author of John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen , PBS

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