9780679640349 / 0679640347

Living with Music: Ralph Ellison's Jazz Writings (Modern Library)


Publisher:Modern Library



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About the book:

"In those days it was either live with music or die with noise, and we chose rather desperately to live."

Before Ralph Ellison became one of America's greatest writers, he was a musician and a student of jazz. The author of Invisible Man wrote widely and brilliantly on his favorite music for more than fifty years, immersing himself in the lives and works of America's musicians, some of whom were his close friends. Ellison is, in fact, perhaps the most important jazz analyst we have. In Living with Music, celebrated jazz authority Robert G. O'Meally has collected the very best of Ellison's writings on this subject; each selection vibrant, insightful, and bursting with Ellison's love of the music in this unique and original anthology.

For readers who think they know Ellison's work, this book will be a revelation. For music fans, it is an essential addition to the jazz bookshelf. Selections include the famous Homage to Duke Ellington on His Birthday, The Golden Age, Time Past, On Bird, Bird-Watching, and Jazz, letters to Albert Murray about Louis Armstrong, and O'Meally's 1976 interview with Ellison. In these pages, Ellison reflects on the greats, from Charlie Parker to Duke Ellington, and meditates on jazz classics in a style that will make even casual fans of the genre hear the music in a whole new way. In Living with Music, we see firsthand the resounding and profound influence that jazz and Ralph Ellison; two American originals, riffing, improvising, and conversing on a truly profound level, have had on our culture.

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