Conversations with Albert Murray

Overview

As a cultural critic, biographer, essayist, and novelist, Albert Murray has had a wide-ranging and pro-found influence on American art in the decades since the Second World War. Artists as diverse as Walker Percy, Romare Bearden, and Wynton Marsalis have drawn from Murray and his ideas on jazz and the blues, modern consciousness, and the role of race in the American identity. Yet this is the first book devoted to Murray himself, and fittingly it is based on the kind of conversations that have proven indispensable...
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Overview

As a cultural critic, biographer, essayist, and novelist, Albert Murray has had a wide-ranging and pro-found influence on American art in the decades since the Second World War. Artists as diverse as Walker Percy, Romare Bearden, and Wynton Marsalis have drawn from Murray and his ideas on jazz and the blues, modern consciousness, and the role of race in the American identity. Yet this is the first book devoted to Murray himself, and fittingly it is based on the kind of conversations that have proven indispensable to his friends in the arts. It brings together twenty interviews with Murray conducted over the last twenty-four years, beginning with an interview shortly after his second book, South to a Very Old Place, was published, and ending with a previously unpublished interview with Roberta S. Maguire. In these conversations Murray discusses those who influenced him - Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington - and tells how they helped him develop a philosophy of art based on the blues as well as a new archetype of the American hero, the blues hero.

From Albert Murray:
The Blues is not the creation of a crushed-spirited people. It's the product of a forward-looking, upward-striving people. Jazz is only possible in a climate of freedom.

The real problem is to make white Americans more aware of the black dimension of there experience.

I want affirmation. The artist is concerned with the terms on which he will survive as human being.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604738940
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 11/1/1997
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
Waging War on Social Science 1
A Conversation with Al Murray 4
Taking a Leaf: A Talk with Albert Murray 8
Albert Murray: Riffing It 12
Albert Murray Talks the Blues 15
Albert Murray: Up Tempo or "The Velocity of Celebration" 19
To Hear Another Language 25
The Book, Like the Man, Is Deliberately Reserved 46
A Jazz Jam with a Pen 49
Jazz Rules Life of Basie Biographer 52
Talking with Albert Murray: A Hero and the Blues 54
An Interview with Albert Murray, Author of The Spyglass Tree 57
Honor for a Writer Who Puts Blues in His Words 66
The Unsquarest Person Duke Ellington Ever Met 70
Albert Murray on Stage: An Interview 78
The Soloist: Albert Murray's Blues People 94
An Intellectual Godfather to Two Generations of Writers, Thinkers, and Artists 110
Murray, a Great Black Hope at 79, Stomps on Literary Establishment 117
The Omni-American 122
Albert Murray: Extensions and Elaborations 137
Index 163
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