Nat Hentoff, a jazz critic for more than 50 years who found further fame as an author and social critic, died in New York City Jan. 7 at 91.

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Photo: Courtesy Cato.org

Nat Hentoff

His son, Nick, said he was surrounded by family and listening to Billie Holiday when he died. Hentoff wrote for the Village Voice, Down Beat, The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper's, Washington Post and numerous other publications, and authored more than 35 books, according to the New York Times.

He was a jazz critic in Manhattan in the 1950s, before “music critic” was a regular title, championing modern jazz artists including Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor.

He was a founding editor of the Jazz Review and was named one of six Jazz Masters by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004, the first non-musician to earn the distinction.