For well over 60 years, Nat Hentoff has been a one-of-a-kind public intellectual, an unrelentingly outspoken champion of both modern jazz and all of the liberties that flow from the First Amendment. In The Pleasures of Being Out of Step, a new documentary by David L. Lewis, we hear him explaining these twinned inspirations: "The reason we have jazz," he says, "the reason we have almost anything worthwhile, is the fact that we're a free people. And that came about because of James Madison, and those improvisers." Kurt Loder writes that Lewis does a superb job of illustrating Hentoff's long career with firsthand interviews of the man himself, and many of his colleagues; with classic musical performances and vintage TV footage.
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