Few of today's music critics can recall chatting with jazz legends like Louis, Billie or Duke in their dressing rooms, and the rarity of hearing about those experiences may be the single greatest pleasure of reading a Hentoff column. The""jazz master"" has been reviewing the American music scene for half a century and brings that wealth of experience to the 60 recent columns gathered here. Although he devotes the lion's share of pages to his first love, jazz, he also covers the pioneers of blues, country and folk, delving into the experiences and rhythms of Willie Nelson, Charlie Parker and Bob Dylan, among many others. Aside from a pithy autobiographical introduction to the ensemble, the author does not situate the columns--there are no publication dates or names. Despite this lack of context, fans will savor Hentoff's robust prose and his original window onto the world of American music.