By Martin Schray
Last week Ekkehard Jost, one of the most astute writers about free jazz, passed away. Jost was a musicologist and played the baritone saxophone. He was a member of Amman Boutz, the Sommer/Jost Duo and Grumpff, with whom he released the excellent Wetterau on FMP/SAJ. In 1974 his reputation spread outside Germany with Free Jazz - The Roots of Jazz, still one of the most significant works on the subject. The chapter on Cecil Taylor was considered a revelation by the American critic, Gary Giddins, and his later contribution to the booklet accompanying FMP's Cecil Taylor in Berlin '88 is masterful. Europas Jazz, Sozialgeschichte des Jazz in den USA and Jazzgeschichten aus Europa are essential (if you read German). Jost wrote insightfully, but was always readable, never descending into Academese. He will surely be missed.