Source: The New Yorker.
Julius Eastman is the kind of American genius not enough people know about. I first heard of him from the composer Nico Muhly; for years, Eastman had been a known-ish quantity in music circles, but even there he was something of a mystery, owing in part to the fact that he died under unhappy circumstances. Born in New York City in 1940, and raised in Ithaca, he had a younger brother, Gerry, who ended up playing guitar for Count Basie. As a student, Eastman earned his degree in piano and composition at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, in Philadelphia. But Eastman’s gifts were not limited to paper. He had a remarkable voice—deep, soulful, nuanced—that attracted attention.