Sending Off Nat Hentoff, With Memories and Jazz

At the end of the memorial service for Nat Hentoff, the Big Four Brass Band paraded into Saint Peter's Church.EXPAND
At the end of the memorial service for Nat Hentoff, the Big Four Brass Band paraded into Saint Peter's Church.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice

Hundreds of people gathered at St. Peter's Church in Midtown on Friday to remember the two things Nat Hentoff held most dear: freedom and jazz.

The memorial celebration for Hentoff, the prolific journalist, jazz critic, and Voice columnist for more than 50 years who died last month at age 91, featured music, remembrances, and a panel discussion.

Sending Off Nat Hentoff, With Memories and Jazz (2)EXPAND
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
Hugo Hentoff, Nat Hentoff's grandson, greets guests before the service began.EXPAND
Hugo Hentoff, Nat Hentoff's grandson, greets guests before the service began.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
John Whitehead, left, meets Micheal Meyers, right, for the first time at the memorial for their friend Nat Hentoff at which both of them were panelists.EXPAND
John Whitehead, left, meets Micheal Meyers, right, for the first time at the memorial for their friend Nat Hentoff at which both of them were panelists.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
Tom Hentoff, left, Story Hentoff, center, and Hugo Hentoff, right, sitting at the front row of their father and grandfather's memorial.EXPAND
Tom Hentoff, left, Story Hentoff, center, and Hugo Hentoff, right, sitting at the front row of their father and grandfather's memorial.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice

"I like that he was very consistent in his views and didn't adhere to any specific ideology," Hugo Hentoff said of his grandfather. "Groups try to claim him, but really he was him."

Michael Meyers, president and executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition described his friend as "one of the earliest ones who said, ‘Yeah, of course Nazis have the right to march in Skokie, Illinois, of course!'”

“He was an absolutist when it came to free speech," Meyers added.

Journalist Tom Robbins, center, watches an excerpt from a documentary film about Nat Hentoff played at the memorial service.EXPAND
Journalist Tom Robbins, center, watches an excerpt from a documentary film about Nat Hentoff played at the memorial service.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
FROM LEFT David Lewis, John Whitehead, Joe Alterman, Tom Robbins, Michael Meyers, and Dan Morganstern spoke on a panel about the life and work of Nat Hentoff.EXPAND
FROM LEFT David Lewis, John Whitehead, Joe Alterman, Tom Robbins, Michael Meyers, and Dan Morganstern spoke on a panel about the life and work of Nat Hentoff.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
American jazz promoter and producer, George Wein (center), who was an early friend and associate of Nat Hentoff.EXPAND
American jazz promoter and producer, George Wein (center), who was an early friend and associate of Nat Hentoff.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
Randy Weston.EXPAND
Randy Weston.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice

Randy Weston, a jazz pianist and friend of Hentoff's performed his song "Berkshire Blues" — because the two met many years ago in the Berkshires. "We talked a lot about one thing: freedom," Weston told the audience. "We talked about that."

Ruby Hentoff, Nat's granddaughter, sings "Where You Live," which was written and performed on piano by Nat's daughter, Miranda Hentoff.EXPAND
Ruby Hentoff, Nat's granddaughter, sings "Where You Live," which was written and performed on piano by Nat's daughter, Miranda Hentoff.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
John Kruth, writer and musician. "The guy changed my life," Kruth said of Hentoff. "By his example, what he believed in, what he wrote about, how he educated people. He had a great life. I wish there were a hundred more of him."EXPAND
John Kruth, writer and musician. "The guy changed my life," Kruth said of Hentoff. "By his example, what he believed in, what he wrote about, how he educated people. He had a great life. I wish there were a hundred more of him."
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
Village Voice production manager and art critic R.C. Baker (far right) jokes with Peter Barbey, center, the owner of the Voice, and Sylvia Topp, a longtime Village Voice contributor.EXPAND
Village Voice production manager and art critic R.C. Baker (far right) jokes with Peter Barbey, center, the owner of the Voice, and Sylvia Topp, a longtime Village Voice contributor.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
The Big Four Brass Band.EXPAND
The Big Four Brass Band.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice
David Massengill, a folk singer, looks down at the memorial service for Nat Hentoff.EXPAND
David Massengill, a folk singer, looks down at the memorial service for Nat Hentoff.
Christian Hansen for The Village Voice

The service ended with the Big Four Brass Band parading into Saint Peter's Church.


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