Albert Murray - Collected Essays and Memoirs
The Omni-Americans / South to a Very Old Place / The Hero and the Blues / Stomping the Blues / The Blue Devils of Nada
For his centenary, the complete nonfiction of the groundbreaking cultural critic who saw America's black and white cultures as inextricably intertwined--and jazz and blues as the key to an "omni-American" aesthetic.
In his 1970 classic The Omni-Americans, Albert Murray (1916–2013) took aim at protest writers and social scientists who accentuated the “pathology” of race in American life. Against narratives of marginalization and victimhood, Murray argued that black art and culture, particularly jazz and blues, stand at the very headwaters of the American mainstream, and that much of what is best in American art embodies the “blues-hero tradition”— a heritage of grace, wit, and inspired improvisation in the face of adversity. Murray went on to refine these ideas in The Blue Devils of Nada and From the Briarpatch File, and all three landmark collections of essays are gathered here for the first time, together with Murray’s memoir South to a Very Old Place, his brilliant lecture series The Hero and the Blues, his masterpiece of jazz criticism Stomping the Blues, and eight previously uncollected pieces.
"Albert Murray's best nonfiction has been gathered in a plump and welcome volume from the Library of America. . . . His writing about racism can prickle your skin. . . . To paraphrase Murray's praise of Ellison's Invisible Man, reading this book is like watching someone take a 12-bar blues song and score it for a full orchestra." — Dwight Garner, The New York Times
- Author: Albert Murray
- Date published: Oct 2016
- size: 5 x 8
- pages: 1072