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

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Synopsis

"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.
 

About Ralph Ellison

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Ralph Ellison was born in Oklahoma City in 1914. He was educated at the Frederick Douglass School and at Tuskegee Institute, where he studied the trumpet and music composition. Ellison moved to New York City in 1936 and lived in Harlem until his death in 1994. His novel Invisible Man (1952) was the winner of the National Book Award and one of the most important and influential American novels of the twentieth century. Ellison was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1975 and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1985. Robert G. O'Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University and the founder and director of the Center for Jazz Studies. He is a leading interpreter of the dynamics of jazz in American culture. O'Meally is the author of several books, including Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday and The Craft of Ralph Ellison. In 1999, he received a Grammy nomination for his work as coproducer of the five-CD set The Jazz Singers. He lives in New York.
 
Published May 29, 2001 by Modern Library. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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In Living with Music: Ralph Ellison's Jazz Writings, literature and jazz scholar Robert O'Meally, founder and director of the Center for Jazz Studies, has collected the best of this oeuvre in a volume that includes profiles of jazz greats like Charlie Parker, meditations on jazz classics, music-r...

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Entertainment Weekly

The subtitle, Ralph Ellison's Jazz Writings, is either incomplete or redundant.

Jun 01 2001 | Read Full Review of Living with Music: Ralph Elli...

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