In addition to his career as a leading jazz critic, New York-based journalist Nat Hentoff has gained a reputation, over 65 years of writing, as a staunch champion of free speech. In a new documentary now out on DVD, The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Notes on the Life of Nat Hentoff (First Run Features), director David L. Lewis traces the extraordinary accomplishments of one of this country’s leading contrarians. Hentoff, who was born in Boston 89 years ago, perceived the changing times in jazz and popular music, and was befriended by some of America’s preeminent artists. Anybody who likes great music — in TV shows produced by Hentoff featuring a dazzling array of modern jazz luminaries — or a good argument should watch this film. — M.S.
(American Jewish World, 1.16.15)