Gene Santoro

Music Critic

A former working musician and Fulbright Scholar, Gene Santoro also covers film and jazz for the New York Daily News.

He has written about pop culture for publications including: The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, People, The New York Post, Spin, 7 Days and Down Beat.

Santoro has authored two essay collections, Dancing In Your Head (1994) and Stir It Up (1997), which were both published by Oxford University Press, and a biography of jazz great Charles Mingus, titled Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus (Oxford, 2000). He is currently completing
Made in America, essays about musical countercultures.

In addition, Santoro's writing has been included in such anthologies as Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage, and Criticism from 1919 to Now, Mass Culture and Everyday Life, The Oxford Jazz Companion, The Jimi Hendrix Companion and The B.B. King Companion.

While contributing articles about rock to the Encyclopedia Brittanica and The Encyclopedia of New York City, he is also on the editorial advisory board of The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. He has appeared on radio and TV shows like The Edge, Eleventh Hour, All Things Considered and Fresh Air.

Bob and Ray Bob and Ray

After Ronald Reagan's death, Ray Charles's version of "Amazing Grace," one of Reagan's favorite songs, kept popping up on radio and TV. Why not?

Jun 24, 2004 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

Willie Nelson at 70 Willie Nelson at 70

On April 30, Willie Nelson turned 70, celebrating with the release of his latest greatest-hits collection.

Oct 30, 2003 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

Our Man in Jazz Our Man in Jazz

Not many people can say they changed the world and make it stick. In Myself Among Others: A Life in Music, George Wein does.

Jun 26, 2003 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

Sweet Soul Music Sweet Soul Music

As Trent Lott struggled to "repudiate" segregation fifty years after it was outlawed, about the only point he left out of his incoherent counterattack is that he was a soul-mus...

Dec 23, 2002 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

Blowin’ in a New Wind Blowin’ in a New Wind

Ani DiFranco

Nov 26, 2002 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

Hey, He’s Bruce Hey, He’s Bruce

When Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, reunited to tour behind The Rising, came to Madison Square Garden on August 12, they juxtaposed "41 Shots," Springsteen's powerful so...

Aug 29, 2002 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

Scene of the Crime Scene of the Crime

Bob Dylan at Newport

Aug 15, 2002 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

The Thrill Is Gone The Thrill Is Gone

It's easy to rephrase Tolstoy's opening to Anna Karenina so it describes junkies, who all share an essential plot line: Who and how to hustle in order to score. But in the world o...

Jun 27, 2002 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

What Are They Reading? What Are They Reading?


May 23, 2002 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro

The Band’s Long Waltz The Band’s Long Waltz

When I first saw The Last Waltz in 1978, I almost walked out, although I was a fan of both director Martin Scorsese and The Band. I admit I was one of the folks whose tickets for...

May 16, 2002 / Books & the Arts / Gene Santoro