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Making life swing

Ralph Ellison once said of jazz that it is the "brassy affirmation of the goodness of being alive". I like that. Because I have been re-reading Ellison I have also been reading about, and, of course listening to, jazz (and blues). A conversation I had with Gordon Lloyd last night makes me think that you might be interested in knowing that the three books I am currently reading on jazz are these:
Ted Gioia’s The History of Jazz, Marshall W. Stearns’ The Story of Jazz, and the wonderful Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz As Told by the Men Who Made It (Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff). Of course, I claim no expertise in this matter (and says the voice, or any other), but I like these three books .

Ralph Ellison, writing in 1945, on the blues:

"The blues is an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism. As a form the blues is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically."

Discussions - 4 Comments

I read that article. It don't mean a thing.

Peter, tell Gordon "hey" from Williamsburg!

Peter, that Hentoff and Shapiro book sounds enjoyable. In a similar vein of hearing it from the horse's mouth, check out The Autobiography of Count Basie as Told to Albert Murray. And Murray's Stompin' the Blues is of course a must, a book that if you let it, will bring you much happiness.

I think that Ellison's February is one of the most blues-like lyrical pieces of prose I have ever read. For a piece with more jazz, I think of A Coupla Scalped Indians. Just my thoughts.

Dr. Scrhamm, have you seen the movie Dogville yet, and if so, what did you think?

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