Kevin Whitehead, the longtime jazz critic for NPR's Fresh Air, has written about jazz, movies, and popular culture for 40 years. His books include New Dutch Swing (1998) and Why Jazz? A Concise Guide (2011). His essays have appeared in such collections as The Cartoon Music Book, Discover Jazz and Traveling the Spaceways: Sun Ra, the Astro-Black and Other Solar Myths. Whitehead has taught at the University of Kansas, Towson University, and Goucher College.
Jazz and cinema, the two definitive art forms of the 20th Century, have led an often troubled co-existence. Play the Way You Feel traces the frequent missteps and occasional triumphs of jazz in film with the deep knowledge, superior taste, and acerbic wit we have come to expect from Kevin Whitehead. AAn essential book for all jazz fans, and a necessary corrective for anyone whose knowledge of the music is based on what they have learned at the movies. -- Bob Blumenthal, author of Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music A revelation! From the bad to the beautiful, Kevin Whitehead brilliantly illuminates each frame to show us why jazz in the movies matters in all its incarnations. He masterfully guides us through this rich and complicated story, making connections that reveal deeper meanings and aha moments that change our view of jazz, film and ourselves. -- Dominique Eade, Jazz Vocalist and Teacher, New England Conservatory Readers... will be rewarded by insights from an author of discerning taste with a deep understanding of his subject, who yields fresh perspectives on even well-known films. -- Library Journal This is the best volume around on how the film-jazz scenario plays out... Each extended film reconstruction reflects Whitehead's careful watching and thorough research. --Arts Fuse What makes all of this quite enjoyable is the colorful way that [Whitehead] writes, his wit, and a countless number of fascinating details... Even the most devoted jazz film experts will learn a great deal from this book. --Scott Yanow, L.A. Jazz Scene