The Blue Devils of Nada: A Contemporary American Approach to Aesthetic Statement

Overview

Murray gives readers the redefined essence of his lifetime meditation on the blues as this musical style informs American life. Here are incisive essays on writing, music, and art that go beyond the social-science fiction of Negrohood to describe in no uncertain terms what it means to be American.

Murray gives readers the redefined essence of his lifetime meditation on the blues as this musical style informs American life. Here are incisive essays on writing, music, ...

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The Blue Devils of Nada: A Contemporary American Approach to Aesthetic Statement

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Overview

Murray gives readers the redefined essence of his lifetime meditation on the blues as this musical style informs American life. Here are incisive essays on writing, music, and art that go beyond the social-science fiction of Negrohood to describe in no uncertain terms what it means to be American.

Murray gives readers the redefined essence of his lifetime meditation on the blues as this musical style informs American life. Here are incisive essays on writing, music, and art that go beyond the social-science fiction of Negrohood to describe in no uncertain terms what it means to be American.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A cultural theorist examines blues and jazz stereotypes. (July)
Library Journal
Long one of American literature's overlooked resources, novelist and essayist Murray (Stomping the Blues, LJ 2/1/77) here uses his considerable talent to ruminate on the impact of African American music on 20th-century American culture. Applying both his lifetime love of the jazz and blues idioms and his personal relationships with musical giants such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, Murray examines the music in terms of the human, not merely the black, experience. It is in the human experience that Murray sees the essence of all culture-painting, music, or literature. Using the work of Ernest Hemingway as an illustration, he makes the point that treating art as sociopolitical protest is taking the easy way out. The aesthetic of jazz and blues looks for the universal in us all and celebrates it. This thoughtful book is essential for all humanities collections. [For a review of Murray's latest novel see p. 158.-Ed.]-Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679758594
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/24/1997
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue 1
Pt. 1 The Intent of the Artist 9
Regional Particulars and Universal Implications 11
Pt. 2 Two All-American Artists First Person Singular 19
Duke Ellington Vamping Till Ready 21
Comping for Count Basie 29
Pt. 3 The Armstrong Continuum 51
The Twentieth-Century American Herald 53
Pt. 4 The Ellington Synthesis 73
The Vernacular Imperative 75
Storiella Americana as She is Swyung; or, The Blues as Representative Anecdote 83
Armstrong and Ellington Stomping the Blues in Paris 97
Pt. 5 The Visual Equivalent to Blues Composition 115
Bearden Plays Bearden 117
Pt. 6 The Storyteller as Blues Singer 141
Ernest Hemingway Swinging the Blues and Taking Nothing 143
Epilogue 223
Index 227
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