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The Enright Files: Conversations about jazz with Gary Giddins

Trying to capture in words the art, sounds and personalities of jazz music in lively prose that rings true is a rare feat of writing. Few have done it so well and for as long as Gary Giddins. He was a columnist for the Village Voice for more than 30 years and has won dozens of awards for his books and journalism. If a jazz artist is significant Giddins has written about him or her. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations with Gary Giddins about jazz.
American jazz musician Benny Goodman. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, music critic Gary Giddins talks to Michael Enright about jazz musicians Benny Goodman and Oscar Peterson. (Michael Stroud/Daily Express/Getty Images)
Listen to the full episode53:59

It's been said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. It might also be said that the only thing harder than playing jazz music … is writing about jazz music.

Trying to capture in written language the intuitive art of musical improvisation and to do with lively, crisp prose that rings true is a rare sort of alchemy. But few musicians or readers would argue that Gary Giddins has mastered that art.

Gary Giddins discovered jazz as a teenager, and it changed his life. And he, in turn, became one of the most influential jazz journalists of the past century.

His regular column, Weather Bird, appeared in the Village Voice for more than 30 years, and he has written columns and essays on virtually every jazz musician of consequence. He's won dozens of awards and honours for his writing and journalism, from a Grammy Award for Best Liner Notes to a National Book Critics Circle Award to a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jazz Journalists Association.

Giddins' books include Visions of Jazz: The First Century, Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong, Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker and a two-volume biography of Bing Crosby,

CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition is a show with a particular fondness for jazz ... and they've had the good fortune to have Gary Giddins appear on the program several times to talk about the music and the musicians.  On this month's edition of The Enright Files, we present three conversations between Michael Enright and Gary Giddins talking about jazz.

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