Weather Bird

More than 140 essays, reviews and articles by the Village Voice music critic who ended his 30-year run of columns there in late 2003. In addition to reviews of the usual suspects and more—from Doc Severinsen, Charlie Haden and Peggy Lee to Stephane Grappelli, Cassandra Wilson, Billie Holiday and Ornette Coleman—Giddins prides himself on his disputatious critical style. It’s an uncannily astute compendium of who done what and what it all might mean to someone with encyclopedic ears. Two essays alone—“Parajazz,” an overview of the avant garde, and “How Come Jazz Isn’t Dead?,” which explores how enduring art faces the issue of outlasting the world of its genesis and avoids being museum-ified—are worth the price of admission.