Author Tom Wolfe, “probably the most skillful writer in America” according to William F. Buckley, died yesterday at age 88.
“Whether profiling One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey and his hippie pals the Merry Pranksters or America’s first astronauts, Wolfe had a dramatist’s gift for the telling detail and for crafting page-turning suspense,” writes Rolling Stone’s Tim Grierson.
“Never try to fit in; it’s sheer folly,” he once advised. “Be an odd, eccentric character. People will volunteer information to you.”
Wolfe had a style bound to inspire countless bad imitations. You may see some on the socials this week and next.
Terry Teachout writes, “I confess to being shaken by the news of Wolfe’s death. I last saw him in the flesh a year or so ago, and he looked at once frail and somehow ageless. I couldn’t imagine a world without him then. I still can’t.“
In 1995, Terry Teachout wrote the first article for jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall for a national publication. He talks about it and shares his thoughts in a post today.
Twenty years after we met, Diana sent me an e-mail thanking me for writing about her in the Journal. “Of all the many pieces I’ve written through the years, I think I might just be proudest of that one,” I replied. “It means the world to me to know that I was able to help when it mattered.”
From that piece, Teachout offers a reason for calling Krall “well-listened and well-read.”
Like so many younger musicians, Ms. Krall is intensely aware of jazz’s rich tradition, and knowledgeable about it. “My idea of a fun evening,” she says, “is to just sit around with my records and put on one after another: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Red Garland, Miles Davis—anything I can get my hands on, really.”