Tributes to Gene Lees continue, for good reason. A line from Longfellow applies: “Dead he is not, but departed – for the artist never dies.”
Terry Teachout remembers Gene in today’s Wall Street Journal:
Had Gene been born sooner, he would surely have been as famous and successful as the top songwriters of the ’30s and ’40s. But he came along after the cultural tide of jazz had started to ebb, and by the time his songs were making their mark, rock ‘n’ roll was in the process of replacing jazz as the lingua franca of American popular music.
Part of what made Gene’s essays so valuable was that he wrote them not as a coolly objective observer but as a man immersed in the culture that he chronicled. More often than not, his subjects were his friends, and he had seen them at their best and, on occasion, their worst.
To read all of Terry’s “Sightings” column, go here.