David Hajdu

Thelonious Monk Does ‘Blue Monk’ as Count Basie Ogles
February 04, 2010

Click here to discover what will be inside our newest feature, “The Famous Door.” Since I've taken the name for this new feature from a storied old jazz club, I thought I should start the series with a video that features a person who not only played in the place but who also named one of his signature pieces "52nd Street Theme"--Thelonious Monk. This clip of a different tune of his, "Blue Monk," is an excerpt from a 1950s TV series called "The Seven Lively Arts," which devoted an episode to jazz.

What Is ‘The Famous Door’?
February 04, 2010

I know I'm not the only music listener to find himself doing an awful lot of listening electronically. I scout for new artists to hear online and download a great deal of music to play at my leisure, and I spend more time on YouTube than I will ever admit. I'm still going out--most nights, in fact, to hear concerts, nightclub acts, and other shows of all sorts--and I'll continue to write about what I encounter in live performances in the pages of TNR.

January 07, 2010

The Beatles: Rock Band Guitar Hero When smug old children of the 1970s such as my friends and I get together, we play a game. We talk about the bands we loved when we were kids; we trade grumbles about the fact that music no longer seems to dominate youth culture, as we nostalgically recall the role that rock had in our past; and we try to guess what happened. I call this a game and not a discussion, because really it is diverting silliness that boils down to a competition to reach an agreed-upon goal--that is, to prove our generation’s superiority to our successors.

Keys To the Kingdom
March 18, 2009

David Hajdu: Why the best jazz was made by a great human being.

Get Back
October 22, 2008

Books about John Lennon shouldn't leave out his music.

High Hopes
March 12, 2008

Yes We Can” “You and I” “Let’s Put a Woman in Charge” Among the things that happened in early February, when Barack Obama’s campaign for the Democratic nomination seemed suddenly to kick into a higher gear, was the emergence, through YouTube, of a new music video called “Yes We Can,” a mash-up of moments from the speech Obama gave after the New Hampshire primary, set to music by Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas.

The Sound of One Hand Composing
January 30, 2008

Book of Longing Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen   As anyone who has ever balanced a salad spinner on his or her nose for two days could tell you, the secret of getting into The Guinness Book of World Records is to invent your own category, and the same principle applies in the arts. Distinctiveness, which is something different from distinction, tends to lead to recognition.

They Paved Paradise
November 05, 2007

Sweet bird of time and change, you must be laughing. Quite a bit of time has passed since Joni Mitchell last picked up the guitar or sat at the piano and wrote a song--about ten years now--and she has changed.

Stolen Moments
September 10, 2007

Abbey Sings Abbey Abbey Lincoln Love Is What Stays Mark Murphy Near the end of 1956, two young jazz singers made their first albums: Abbey Lincoln's Affair … A Story of a Girl in Love, released by Liberty Records, a quality-conscious shoestring operation, and Meet Mark Murphy, issued by Decca, then a major jazz-pop label. Lincoln was twenty-six and black and a woman, Murphy twenty-four and white and a man, and both had talent and looks. For half a century, they followed separate and circuitous but roughly parallel career paths.

Songbook Jam
March 20, 2007

Mos Def leads off the American Songbook concert series.